Duterte’s martial law

By: Ricky Poca June 05,2017 - 09:27 PM

Ricky Poca

Two weeks into the Marawi City siege and opposition lawmakers and militant groups are still making noise and pursuing their bid to end the government’s imposition of martial law in Mindanao.

This despite the public seeing for themselves through TV and online media the relentless violence inflicted by the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City and the military’s determined push to end it.

In Congress, lawmakers debate on the necessity to hold a joint session to approve or disapprove martial law, but President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies insist that a joint session is called to revoke only the declaration of martial law and not to reject it in accordance to the 1987 Constitution.

Despite the Palace sending its representatives and military officials to update Congress on martial law in Mindanao, the opposition and militant groups still reject their position.

But both of them would have to contend with public sentiment especially by the people in Mindanao who supported the President’s martial law declaration.

Despite the support, there is still a strong public acknowledgment to be vigilant in monitoring the military and police to ensure that no abuses will occur during the enforcement of martial law in Mindanao.

Our Muslim brothers and sisters are supporting the action taken by the government including the Catholic Church. Now many are asking, what is the difference between Duterte’s martial law and martial law of the Marcos regime?

Well, martial law in Mindanao still guaranteed that institutions are still working and there is still freedom of expression as seen through the rallies against the president.

The Marcos martial law jailed opposition leaders and closed down all mainstream media. Rallies were prohibited and Congress was shut down.

Duterte’s martial law covered only Mindanao while martial law under the Marcos regime covered the entire country. During that period, there were warrantless arrests and no charges were filed in court.

Marcos also confiscated businesses without reimbursements. Human rights abuses were rampant during that time. In contrast, it is quite clear that the Marawi City siege had emptied the city of its residents and turned it into a no man’s land.

President Duterte’s warning that he may declare martial law in the Visayas and Luzon was met with opposition by local officials, which would have been unthinkable during the Marcos regime.

Last Friday’s assault by a crazed ex-government employee at the Resorts World Manila that the terrorist group Islamic State (IS) took credit for only served to fuel public jitters about terrorism run amuck in this country.

But police investigation refuted IS’ claim which should relieve public concern over the incident. While the military is still working on ending the Maute Group’s stranglehold of Marawi City, let’s remain calm and be vigilant against any and all forms of violence.

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TAGS: Constitution, Duterte’s, law, marawi, martial, presidents, terrorist

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