Martial law declaration is failure on part of Duterte: Saguisag


Posted at May 25 2017 09:04 PM

Mindanao solons back Duterte's move; Aguirre urges critics to go to SC 

MANILA- MANILA- Former Senator Rene Saguisag on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao is an admission of failure on the part of the chief executive.

“But after one year, to have to declare martial law is failure on your part. Hindi mo gagawin ito kung hindi ka biyahe ng biyahe, dada ng dada (talk and talk),” he said in an interview on ANC.

Duterte placed Mindanao under military rule following clashes between government troops and the Maute terror group. He also warned that he might expand the coverage of his martial law declaration to Visayas and Luzon if terror groups spread their activities outside Mindanao.

Saguisag explained that like anybody else, Duterte is entitled to make "rookie mistakes" but after almost a year in office, the President has not properly addressed pressing national problems due to his focus on the drug problem.

“After one year, kailangan mag-review sila sa gobyerno dahil ang nangyayari diyan, Cabinet members niya are not voices—they are echoes,” he said, noting that contrasting statements add to “chaos.”

Saguisag, a human rights lawyer, also urged Duterte to refrain from speaking further about the ongoing martial law in Mindanao to avoid amplifying fear.

“Matatakot ang buong mundo dito. Sinong tinatakot ni Digong? Buong mundo? Buong bayan? kaya dapat diyan di siya madaldal,” he said.

Saguisag said Duterte, as chief executive, should take it slow when making threats related to martial law given the country’s dark past with it and the possible adverse effects threats may have on the country’s tourism and economy.

“Itong pangulo natin padalos-dalos, ang daldal eh,” he said. “I’m concerned na pag hindi ito na-manage properly, dadanak na naman ang dugo unnecessarily."

The President on Tuesday said military rule in Mindanao will be no different from the martial law period during the time of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, saying he will deal harshly with terrorists.

Saguisag said Duterte’s threats can be viewed as a call for terrorists to retaliate.

“We are provoking the entire Muslim community, the entire ISIS group to retaliate,” he said, noting that the President’s men should be the ones at the forefront in making martial law pronouncements so as to maintain a distance.

Asked whether declaring martial law in Mindanao was necessary, Saguisag said he is “not certain” but the President should take it one step at a time.


Meantime, House leaders met with congressmen from Mindanao behind closed doors day after the President placed their home island under martial law.

House Deputy Speaker Bai Sandra Sema said they were all concerned but supportive of the move. 

"Lahat concerned. Of course, supportive sa decision ng president to put peace and order back in Marawi City. Sari-saring emotions pero yung halimbawa, like sa amin mga Muslims, alam namin minsan discriminated na naman kami dito. Ang tingin [sa amin] dito, we condone the attack [in Marawi]; no we don't, we condemn it. Actually, it is not Islamic and does not represent Islam. Inexplain namin sa mga kasamang congressman that we are in this together," he said. 

Sema said the lawmakers are all supportive"of the measure in putting security back in Marawi City."

But Sema offered this word of caution. "Well, for instance, doon sa napagusapan na implementation ng martial law, alam naman natin na nagkaroon ng martial law noon pero this time, I believe in the leadership of the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] na alam din nilang kailangan yung implementation ng martial law will be in such a way na di magkakaroon ng maraming sympathziers yung kalaban kung di madiminish sila."

Sema still called on the public to be vigilant. "I believe in the leadership of the AFP. I know, unlike before, di napapagsusapan, this time, it's easy to talk to them and people can come anytime. May social media tayo, pag merong mga abuses, social media can be an instrument para maireport ito. We can help our people by making open our people in the media."


Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday said any questions on the legality of President Duterte’s Proclamation 216 declaring martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of

habeas corpus in Mindanao should be raised before the Supreme Court (SC). 

Aguirre defended the declaration, stressing that there must be presumption of regularity on the part of the president.

"The president is entitled to be presumed to be regularly performing the duties of his office," Aguirre said, in a text message.

Mr. Duterte placed Mindanao under martial rule following attacks by the Maute group in civilian populations and installations in Marawi City.

The move gained its fair share of supporters and critics, with supporters saying the declaration is justifiable given the prevailing situation in various parts of the region. Critics, however, say there is not enough basis for it even as they expressed fears on the possibility of abuse on the part of the implementors.

Mr. Duterte said the Maute group is committing rebellion by taking over a local hospital; burning public and privately owned facilities; and flying the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

which caused a breakdown in peace and order in the city and depriving the president of his “powers and prerogatives.”

Proclamation 216 states the Maute group and other rebel groups would continue to sow terror and cause the deaths of civilians, as well as damage to properties, in nearby areas and the rest of Mindanao.

In the event that a case is filed with the SC, the high court has 30

days to resolve the same, as provided for in the 1987 Constitution. -- with reports from RG Cruz, Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News