MANILA—Marawi civic leader Samira Gutoc on Thursday filed her certificate of candidacy in a bid to secure a Senate seat.
Former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita "Ging" Deles joined her in submitting her COC. Gutoc said she will run under the opposition coalition.
“Somebody has to stand up for non-violence, peace-building. As a Maranao, I can well-represent indigenous peoples...I represent the 10 million Muslim population in the Philippines," she told ANC.
Gutoc, organizer of Ranao Rescue Team, was a former member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). She resigned after President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017.
Gutoc confirmed that she resigned following Duterte's joke he would own up to soldiers' wrongdoings, even if they rape up to three women.
"This is martial law. The houses were burning. People fled, 12 hours walking from Marawi to Iligan City. You don't joke. You don't joke at that moment in time. It's horrible," Gutoc said in an interview with ANC.
"Don't talk about rape at this moment in time. Just the word rape, don't talk about it right now. Martial law stigma was with us, 1970s. The 2000 all-out war, 2003 all-out war where a pork was eaten in the mosque," she added, referring to the armed conflict between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during the Estrada and Arroyo administration.
Duterte placed the restive south, home to 22 million people, under military rule after Islamic State sympathizers attacked Marawi last May 23. On his request, lawmakers in July extended martial law until December 31.
On December 13, 2017, Congress granted the second extension of martial rule in the region until the end of 2018.