Martial law until 2022? Makabayan bloc vows to fight new Mindanao martial law extension

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2018 02:34 PM

The Makabayan bloc is eyeing a case before the Supreme Court should Congress grant President Duterte’s request for a 3rd extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

In a press conference, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said the bloc is keeping its options open including the possible filing of a case before the High Court. 

"Tingnan natin ano ang magiging justification nila (Let's see what their justification is for the extension)," he said. 

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier approved the recommendation of the military and the police to extend martial law in Mindanao. 

He first placed Mindanao under martial law in May 2017 after Islamic State-inspired terrorists laid siege on Marawi City for 5 months.

Opposition lawmakers, leftist leaders, and several Marawi stakeholders had questioned the mid-2017 declaration of martial law in Mindanao before the Supreme Court, but the high court upheld the martial rule.

Congress had allowed an extension of martial law up to the end of 2017 and another one up to the end of 2018.

Zarate said a third extension of martial law in Mindanao may lead to unlimited martial law. He rejected the Palace narrative that Mindanao residents favor the extension of martial law. 

"Ito na yung ating babala noon pa man nung first extension na pag pinayagan ito ng Kongreso, nagbabadya ito ng unlimited martial law dahil gusto ng administrasyong ito siguro hanggang katapusan ng termino ay ilalagay sa state of martial law ang Mindanao," he said. 

He pointed out that by next year, authorities could simply write another letter that said rebellion in the country is still ongoing.

"Kung pagbabasehan natin ang sulat ni Pangulong Duterte, next year at almost the same time we expect another letter at sasabihin nila di namin napigilan 'yung rebelyon,' he said. 

"In fact, nagspread ito sa buong bansa kaya ang buong bansa na ang ilalagay natin sa batas militar. Unlimited martial law, ito talaga ang gusto ng militar," he said. 

ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro said the declaration of martial law in Mindanao affects lumad schools and farmers in the area. 

He urged lawmakers to think twice about granting another extension of martial law in the south. 

Gabriela Rep. Emmy de Jesus said the plight of the indigenous peoples in Mindanao must be heard, adding that the military is using divide-and-rule tactics against indigenous peoples. 

"Sana isang magandang pagkakataon bukas na mismo direct from their experiences marinig ng ating mga kasamahan sa Kongreso at sa Senado ang larawan bakit ang extension ng martial law sa Mindanao ay dapat tutulan," the lawmaker said.