MANILA, Philippines – While she was fully supporting the efforts of the military and police to neutralize the Maute terror group sowing terror in Marawi City, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo raised questions regarding President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao and the parameters of its implementation.
Since the previously declared state of lawlessness is still in effect, Vice President Robredo inquired as to the nature of unmet needs are there that required the extraordinary powers under Martial Law.
She also urged Congress to “perform their constitutional duty of reviewing and deciding on the validity of the declaration, where these questions could also be raised,” and called on the people to remain vigilant.
“A significant number of citizens have raised questions about the basis for the proclamation and the specific parameters of its implementation,” she pointed out in a statement.
She cited the following questions that should be answered to allay the people’s concern about the martial law declaration:
A) The report submitted to Congress states that Martial Law shall be in effect “until such time that the rebellion is completely quelled.”
How does the administration define “completely quelled?”
What does the administration like to see happen before withdrawing the imposition of Martial Law as well as re-establishing the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus?
Martial Law grants the administration extraordinary powers and it is in everyone’s interest to swiftly return to our normal democratic order.
B) What are the concrete mechanisms that will be established to ensure its conduct will not lead to abuses and violations?
c) Other attempts by local terrorist groups have been effectively and immediately neutralized in other parts of the country, including the recent attempts in Bohol, without resorting to Martial Law. The military itself made a statement that, while these local terrorist groups have the capacity to carry out attacks, they are limited. As such, do we [still] have reason to expect the expansion of the coverage of Martial Law and its prolongation?
“We must all unite against terrorism and we must cooperate with our security forces to find the best ways and means within the framework of our Constitution and laws to neutralize these local terrorist groups at the soonest possible time,” Robredo said.
“Our collective goal must be to bring back normalcy to our people’s lives so that together we can establish lasting peace in our land and tirelessly work to uplift the lives of our people,” the Vice President added.