Congress can revoke martial law any time sans anti-terror law amendments — Drilon

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2019   •   485

Filipino government troops check a villager at a military checkpoint in the town of Pingcawayan, North Cotabato province, southern Philippines, 21 June 2017. EPA-EFE/CERILO EBRANO

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Tuesday said that the government should not use the proposed amendments to the Human Security Act as a pre-requisite to the lifting of martial law in Mindanao.

Drilon made the statement in response to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s earlier remark that another extension would not be necessary if Congress amends the anti-terror law.

“Do not dangle lifting martial law in Mindanao in exchange for the speedy passage of the Human Security Act,” he said in a statement.

“The passage or non-passage of the amendments to the Human Securities Act is not a ground for extending martial law in Mindanao,” he added.

Citing Section 18, Article VII of the Philippine Constitution, the senator said that it was clear that martial law may be declared if actual rebellion exists, and that Congress may extend the declaration if the rebellion persists and public safety requires it.

“That is the only ground for extension of martial law. But it is clear since day one that the martial law or its extension in Mindanao has no basis,” Drilon said.

“It is high time that we lift (martial law to) bring back normalcy in the region,” he added.

He further stated that Congress can revoke martial law any time sans amendments to the Human Security Act.

He also said that Lorenzana was correct in saying that martial law has been going on for too long but he hopes that the government will not use it “to put pressure on Congress to pass the amendments to the Human Security Act.”

“The non-passage of the amendments to the Human Security Act should not be used as a basis or justification to further extend martial law. The amendments need thorough debates,” Drilon said.

Mindanao has been under martial law since 2017 after the Maute Terror group attacked Marawi City.

The martial law was initially set for 60 days but it was extended until the end of 2017, then until the end of 2018 and to the end of 2019.

It is set to expire on December 31, 2019.

Duterte’s new martial law threat, a cover-up for failed COVID-19 response — CPP

Marje Pelayo   •   April 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – In response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s outburst over continued attacks against government forces, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Friday (April 24) accused the Chief Executive of just using the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to carry out his agenda of imposing martial law.

On its website, the communist group stressed that the President is again blaming its armed wing – the New People’s Army (NPA) – ‘to cover up’ his administration’s failure in responding to the current health crisis particularly the conduct of COVID-19 mass testing.

“This is a classic deflection tactic to draw away the people’s attention from the government’s inept, incompassionate and irresponsible actions in the face of the pandemic,” the group said.

The CPP said imposing martial law will not end the pandemic but only cause ‘greater hardship’ to the Filipino people.

The group alleged that the extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) that has been expanded to cover Visayas and Mindanao is martial law.

“There is now creeping nationwide martial law and the entire country is now effectively under the highhanded and control of the military and police,” the CPP noted.

READ: Duterte threatens to declare martial law if NPA attacks continue

The leftist group defended the NPA over the recent encounters with government troops saying the group was only responding to the attacks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) since it has further stepped up its counterinsurgency operations.

“The armed clashes between the NPA and the AFP in the past days are a result of the attacks of the AFP and active defense of the NPA,” the group said.

“In fact, the AFP never went on ceasefire, even when Duterte ordered a suspension of offensive operations last March 19 to April 15, deploying troops to more than 350 barangays and 120 towns to conduct counterinsurgency, mounting at least 24 offensives and six aerial bombardments,” it added.

The CPP accused that such intensified counterinsurgency efforts by the AFP are aimed at preventing the NPA from conducting its own public health campaign in response to the COVID-19 crisis in areas where the Duterte government ‘does not exist’ and their efforts are warmly received.

Nevertheless, the party said it stands by the ceasefire order of its Central Committee that has been extended to April 30 to prioritize its own public health campaign in their villages.

While so doing: “All units of the NPA must, however, remain vigilant and on high alert against attacks of the AFP and ready to engage in battle,” the group concluded.

PH military confirms preparations for possible enforcement of ‘martial law-like’ quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   April 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has confirmed a Philippine Air Force (PAF) document circulating online advising its personnel to prepare for the possible implementation of ‘martial law-like’ quarantine measures as earlier warned by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The memorandum dated April 17 directed unit commanders to prepare for strict implementation of a possible extensive enhanced community quarantine.

The memo further stated that the AFP will be the over all in-charge of roads and highways.

It also stated the need to request for a briefing from the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the legal and safety measures in dealing and engaging with pedestrians and motorists.

The memo leaked online a day after the president threatened to impose a ‘martial law-like’ crackdown following reports of increased public violation of quarantine protocols.

In a statement on Sunday, PAF spokesperson Aristides Galang Jr. said the internal memo was merely a preparatory move for the troops as normally done by the organization.

“The PAF is just anticipating of any scenarios in case the President, as Commander in Chief of the AFP, would decide to implement his statements lately to the public as earlier stated and prepare our troops in advance as normally done by the military organization in the past,” he said.

AFP spokesman Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo also defended the order, saying this was just issued for the purpose of providing advance information to guide its personnel.

Arevalo assured that there is no reason to be alarmed over the order as it is just a “normal reaction” of the AFP to prepare and deploy when it becomes necessary.

“What we should all be alarmed about instead is the fact that a lot of people are blatantly violating the law and disobeying the rules and health protocols which MUST be strictly enforced —otherwise people die,” he said in a statement.

“Law-abiding citizens and those who follow the rules should not worry. There is no reason to be alarmed,” he added.

Based on the report from the PNP, around 130,177 quarantine violators have been apprehended from March 17 to April 18. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Duterte threatens to impose ‘martial law-like’ measures if quarantine violators persist

Marje Pelayo   •   April 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to impose a more drastic measure particularly against violators of the government’s lockdown rules as cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue to climb in the country.

In his late-night address on Thursday (April 16), the President warned of military and police take over if Filipinos continue to break the government’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

I am just asking for your disiplina, kasi kapag ayaw ninyong maniwala, mag-take over ang military at police (I am just asking for your discipline because if you do not obey, the military and police will take over). I am ordering them now to be ready,” the President said addressing quarantine violators.

Sila na, parang martial law na rin. Mamili kayo (They will take over like in martial law. You decide),” he added.

The President expressed frustration over reports of residents repeatedly violating quarantine rules despite the government’s efforts in providing social relief at this time of crisis.

Nearly two weeks before the extended Luzon-wide ECQ is lifted on April 30, President Duterte said he will be compelled to order the government forces to enforce strict social distancing and curfew measures if the number of quarantine violators continue to increase.

“Ayaw ko pero kapag naipit na ang bayan at wala kayong disiplina, (I don’t want to do it but if the entire country is compromised because you lack discipline),” he warned.

The Chief Executive also directed the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to investigate the perpetrators of cockfighting and street drinking sessions in Metro Manila amid the ECQ.

He threatened to cut government aid to those who would further ignore ECQ measures.

 “May pera pala kayong pangsabong. May pera pala kayo pang-inom. Ibigay ko na lang (sa iba,) [You have money for cockfighting. You have money for drinking sessions, so I might as well give the money [to those in need,] ” the President said.

“There’s not enough to go around. Hindi talaga magkasya. We are getting low sa supply ng pagkain na. Ilang araw na iyan buong Pilipinas pinapakain mo – 18 million families (Our supply especially of food is getting lower. We have been feeding 18 millione Filipino families for days now],” he concluded. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

READ: Duterte warns unruly quarantine violators not to taunt gov’t amid relief delays

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