26 May 2017
We fully support the efforts of the AFP and PNP to neutralize the enemies that have sowed terrorism in Marawi City and to stabilize the situation at the soonest possible time. We must be united in our firm condemnation against any form of terrorism.
While the decision to declare Martial Law in Mindanao is constitutionally vested in the President, a significant number of citizens have raised questions about the basis for the proclamation and the specific parameters of its implementation.
Particularly, since the previously declared state of lawlessness is still in effect, what specific actions to be taken require the extraordinary powers under Martial Law?
The Constitution recognizes the legitimacy of raising such questions in these circumstances. To lay to rest the people’s concerns, the following questions must be answered:
- 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.
- What are the concrete mechanisms that will be established to ensure its conduct will not lead to abuses and violations?
- 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 have reason to expect the expansion of the coverage of Martial Law and its prolongation?
We urge the members of Congress to perform their constitutional duty of reviewing and deciding on the validity of the declaration, where these questions could also be raised, and for the Filipino people to remain vigilant.
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.
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.