Maranao official slams lack of civilian voice in martial law extension session

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 14 2017 11:30 AM

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MANILA - A local official from Marawi on Thursday questioned the approval of the extension of martial law in Mindanao without consulting civilians.

Samira Gutoc, head of the Ranao Rescue Team said they were taken aback by the Congress' joint session on Wednesday to tackle President Rodrigo Duterte's request for an extension of martial law.

Representatives did not reach out to their constituents to get their view on the possible martial law extension, she added.

"It hurt so much yesterday. There was no calling of any evacuee affected by martial law. That’s a technicality that we should question," she said. 

She noted, they were invited to speak when Congress first met in July to tackle the first extension, but they were not even informed of the schedule.

"We actually would protest the martial law hearing yesterday on the technicality, the absence of civilian voices," she told ANC's Headstart.

None of the 10 resource persons invited to the joint session was a civilian, and lawmakers "did not even give value to a so-called martial law beneficiary or martial law victim," she said.

"Why wasn’t there 30 seconds given in the floor and you’re talking of an extraordinary legislation of extraordinary powers to arrest certain people, detain certain people?" she said.

"There was a big vacancy in the discussions yesterday. I think technicality should be looked at by the Secretary General of Congress. There was no position papers from our legislators, Sanggunians in Lanao del Sur, Marawi that oppose martial law," she said.

Lawmakers also failed to press on the supposed looting committed by government forces during the 5-month siege in the predominantly Islamic city, said Gutoc.

After four hours of deliberations, a total of 240 legislators voted to extend military rule in Mindanao anew until the end of 2018, while 27 rejected the proposal.

Duterte placed Mindanao, home to 22 million people, under military rule after Islamic State sympathizers attacked Marawi City on May 23. On his request after the lapse of the initial 60-day declaration, lawmakers in July extended martial law until December 31.