Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Drilon: No to martial law extension in Mindanao






Senator Franklin Drilon / photo file form Canadian Inquirer



Opposition and Senate minority floor leader would not have the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have their way in the issue of extending or not the declaration of martial in the island of Mindanao.

Drilon, who is also a stalwart of the once and mighty Liberal Party of the previous administration has categorically rejected any plans of extending martial law in the said region.


No basis

 “The proposed second extension of martial law is unconstitutional…There is no basis for a second extension of martial law as there was no ground that necessitated the first extension,” Senator Franklin Drilon said in a prepared statement.

This statement from the senator came after reports that the AFP and PNP top brass would recommend to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte the extension of martial law.

Drilon cites the 1987 Constitution which he claims is very clear that martial law can only be declared only in cases of actual rebellion when public safety requires it.

No rebellion

As it is, Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution states that martial law may only be extended “if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it,” Drilon said.

“I may sound like a broken record but for the nth time, I would repeat: there is no actual rebellion. Rebellion no longer persists in Mindanao,” the opposition senator stressed.

He explains that rebellion happens only when there is an actual uprising and taking arms against the government with the purpose of removing from its allegiance to the Philippines and any part thereof.

Drilon points out that the statement of the AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez  that “terrorism is still lurking in the area” would confirm that there is no actual rebellion in existence in Mindanao.*

“There may be threats of rebellion, but what the Constitution clearly requires as a ground for declaring and extending martial law is the presence of actual rebellion,” he pointed out.

Do not normalize martial law

The AFP and the PNP, Drilon stressed that can very well exercise their powers under the law without the actual existence of martial law.

“Let us not normalize martial law. Instead, let us help bring back normalcy in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Mindanao,” Senator Drilon said.

“Even without martial law, I have full confidence in the capability of our military and the police to suppress criminals, rebels, and terrorist,” the senator emphasized.

Rooted in poverty

Another opposition senator Francis Pangilinan, for his part, urged the security forces to match their request for martial law extension “with hard and justifiable facts.”

“For instance, [they] should answer the question: How big and wide is the threat in the region that necessitates it to be placed under such declaration?” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan also said that the extension of military rule in the entire island shows the failure of the declaration in Mindanao.

“This is so because the military might never solve the people’s woes deeply rooted in poverty, lack of jobs and absence of basic services,” Pangilinan said.


Source: Manila Bulletin, Philstar