Lawmakers question placing entire Mindanao under martial law

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 24 2017 04:53 AM

Placing the entire Mindanao under martial law is worrisome, considering that Maute attacks are confined only in Lanao Sur province, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said Wednesday.

Alejano warned that President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration could extend much longer than intended, if the security situation in western and central Mindanao are used as reasons for martial law in the entire island.

"Nonetheless, I hope the government would be able to contain the Maute and other threats the soonest possible time and prevent any spill over to other parts of the country," said Alejano, who earlier filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte.

"Let us be vigilant that such declaration would not be abused in the process like what happened in the 70s. Let us pray for the safety of our soldiers and police and the community caught in between. Good luck to our troops," he said.

The Gabriela party-list said while it condemned the siege of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur by members of the Maute group, it is opposing Duterte’s declaration of martial law for the entirety of Mindanao.

"It signals the full-throttle militarist solution to the crisis, endangering more civilian lives and communities. We do not see the basis of putting the entire Mindanao under the scope of the declaration when the Maute group’s attacks are only being carried out in Marawi City," the party-list group said in a statement. "Such blanket declaration enables the military crackdown on perceived terrorists and enemies of the state not just in Marawi but in other Mindanao cities and provinces as well."

It added that its representatives will vote against the martial law proclamation once Congress takes it up for discussion and voting in a joint session.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry L. Roque, meanwhile, said it is important that Congress discharge its constitutional function to determine the necessity of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

"This is a constitutional duty the legislature must not shirk from as part of the constitutional mechanisms for checks and balances," he said.

Congress is set to adjourn sine die next week.

Under the Constitution, the President, as Commander-in-Chief, may declare any part of the Philippines under martial law in cases of rebellion or invasion. However, within 48 hours of such a declaration, he is required to submit a report in person or in writing to Congress, Roque said in a statement.