MANILA – Solicitor General Jose Calida said Friday that former President Fidel Ramos may have been wrong in suggesting that President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law should have been limited to certain parts of Mindanao.
“Well, you know, there is a problem with that because for example in Mindanao, we don’t have secure borders wherein we can contain the rebellion in one area,” Calida told reporters in a briefing.
“So because of the mobility of these terrorists, they can move from Marawi, to Iligan . . . and other places. So I think the suggestion of the former president is not practicable at this time.”
Ramos, a key figure in the Marcos era-imposed martial law, said he does not question Duterte’s decision to declare martial law, but that it should have been limited to conflict-torn areas of Mindanao.
The former leader also reminded uniformed officials to "take strong measures" against the terrorists "without abusing human rights."
"Limit the violence without violation of human rights . . . Wala pang martial law, katakot-takot na human rights violations," he said.
Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law after local terrorist group Maute, apparently aided by foreign terrorists, besieged Marawi City.
The president suspended the privilege of writ of habeas corpus, which means anyone charged with rebellion or invasion can be arrested without a court-issued warrant.
The sporadic clashes in the city erupted as government troops were trying to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who has a $5 million bounty on his head.