MANILA- Several senators on Friday urged former President Fidel Ramos to respect President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao instead of scoring government officials for the decision.
Senators Joseph Victor Ejercito and Panfilo Lacson said Ramos should first give the government’s decision a chance before being critical.
“FVR should just keep quiet because his time is up. He has to respect President Duterte's decisions and moves,” Ejercito said, noting that Ramos did not “exactly have a very good track record as president.”
The lawmaker made the statement after Ramos, in a press briefing on Friday, urged pro-martial law Cabinet members and lawmakers to “temper your statements" and avoid sugarcoating the possible implications of military rule.
"Many of those in the Cabinet and Congress who are very vocal about how martial law is good may have never experienced being shot at or being forced to evacuate to a safe place, or how to lose a job, livelihood or loved members of a family," Ramos said.
"Temper your statements... (It) sends a sense of fear and foreboding which is very unbecoming when the present administration claims scoring successes in different areas," he added.
Ejercito recalled that, during Ramos’ term, rebel Moro groups became stronger and some government officials who were rebel allies funneled government funds into Moro camps.
“Malaki ang kasalanan ni Ramos bakit lumakas ang pwersa ng MILF and other secessionist movements.,” he said in an interview. “I don’t think he is the proper person to advise President Duterte on this matter.”
Lacson meanwhile said it would be more helpful if Ramos desisted from criticizing without knowing the facts on the ground.
“Mas makakatulong tayong mapadali na ma-resolve ang crisis sa Mindanao kung pababayaan na muna nating gawin ng pamahalaan ang nararapat under the circumstances, instead of criticizing without knowing the facts and the developments obtain[ed] on the ground. It goes without saying that we should remain vigilant na lang for possible abuses in the implementation,” he said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian meanwhile said military rule in Mindanao should immediately be lifted as soon as normalcy returns.
“I strongly believe that [martial law] should be immediately lifted as soon as [the] life of our kababayans in Western Mindanao is back to normalcy,” he said. -report from Sherri Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News