Sotto urges Martial Law detractors: Go to Mindanao and take your arguments with you - The Daily Sentry

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sotto urges Martial Law detractors: Go to Mindanao and take your arguments with you

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III / Photo from GMA Network
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III slams Martial Law antagonists, prompting them to put their money where their mouth is and take their arguments to the war - torn region instead.

Sotto, in a text message after Congress’ deliberations on Martial Law Extensions, said, “I wish those against ML in Mindanao to go there and say there what they are saying here.”

“Kahit hindi tumira. Pumunta lang at duon magsalita ng contra nila,” Sotto added.

Congress concedes to President Rodrigo Duterte’s demand to extend Martial Rule in Mindanao for the third time until December 31, 2019, voting 235 – 28 with 1 abstention.

While 5 Senators were against its extension and 1 abstained, 2 decided not to participate while 3 failed to attend the session, Sotto was among the 12 of all 23 Senators who manifested support and voted for the extension.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III / Photo from
The result only came after around 3 hours of dialogue in a joint session at the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City.

In a letter addressing Senate President Vicente Sotto III and House Speaker Gloria Arroyo dated December 6, the President justified that “rebellion still persists in Mindanao” and “public safety requires the continuation of Martial Law.”

It was on May 23, 2017 that President Duterte placed Mindanao island under Martial Rule amid the ongoing clashes between government troops and Maute group terrorists in Marawi City. He asked Congress for its extension until December of the same year.

The Chief Executive was compelled to request for its extension until the end of 2018 despite the government’s declaration of an end to fierce urban fighting in Marawi City.

Article VII Section 18 of the Constitution states that if there is “invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it,” the President may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the entire Philippines or any part of it under martial law for not more than 60 days.
Photo from Interaksyon
Congress, however, by a vote of at least a majority of all its members, may extend it upon the President’s initiative. The legislative branch may also decide to withdraw such in the same manner.

Opposition Bloc Ponders On ‘Reversal’ VS Martial Law Extension

Shortly a day after the Congress approved the President’s request for an extension of Martial Rule in Mindanao, the Opposition Bloc in the House of Representatives is now questioning the 3rd extension of Martial Law before the Supreme Court, mauling its ‘constitutionality’.

"It is very possible we're going to file that petition before the SC because we feel very strongly there is no constitutional and factual basis for that extension," Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said.

Lagman is among the other 27 other lawmakers who opposed the extension arguing that the constitution requires an "actual rebellion" before martial law can be imposed in the country.

Martial Law On ‘Gun Control’

A poll watcher conceded on Thursday saying that although Martial Law helped maintain peace during the village and youth elections in parts of Mindanao last May, authorities could still go after loose (illegal) firearms “even without the imposition of martial law” or its extension.

The first Martial Law declaration was supposed to last only for 60 days, as indicated in the Constitution, but Congress voted to extend it until the end of 2017 to help troops LIBERATE Marawi City from insurgents.

Lawyer Rona Caritos, Executive Director of Poll Watchdog Lente, acknowledged that martial law “really helped in the peaceful conduct” of the Barangay and Youth elections in Marawi City earlier this year.

“Kasi nga, dahil mahigpit, ang daming mga nahuhuli na may mga baril especially in the checkpoints,” she said.

“Yung [The] peaceful conduct of the election, it does not outweigh the disadvantages of extending again martial law for another year in Mindanao,” she added.


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