Pangilinan asks AFP to submit human rights situationer in Mindanao
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Saturday asked Congress to consider requiring the military to coordinate with the Human Rights Commission and other rights groups to monitor the martial law situation in Mindanao to prevent abuses of power.
Pangilinan made this plea before Congress, which is convened in a joint special session to tackle President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend the martial law in Mindanao.
Pangilinan said during his interpellation that a provision in the extension of martial law be included requiring the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to coordinate with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and other human rights groups in submitting a human rights situationer in Mindanao.
Pangilinan made the request as the extension of martial law in Mindanao is expected to be approved by Congress, with administration allies dominating Congress and a small opposition group in the House and Senate.
Congress will vote jointly on the request for martial law extension, which means House members will outnumber the vote of senators.
“Ako ay naniniwala na ang boto namin ay iilan lamang, at maipapasa rin ang resolution na ito. Ang hiling ko, kung ito’y naipasa, maaari bang sa resolution na ito, isasama ang isang probisyon na minamandato ang AFP at CHR in coordination with human rights organizations sa Mindanao, (to) submit a human rights situationer sa Mindanao, para mabantayan natin at hindi aabusuhin ang kapangyarihan ng martial law?” Pangilinan said.
(I believe we only account for a few votes, and this resolution will be passed anyway. My only wish is, if this is passed, can we include a provision in this resolution mandating the AFP and the CHR, in coordination with other human rights organizations in Mindanao to submit a human rights situationer so that we can make sure that the powers accorded in martial law are not abused?)
Several groups have previously raised their concern over possible abuses of government authorities as martial law is implemented in Mindanao. President Duterte and his government have denied the allegations.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana welcomed Pangilinan’s suggestion in the resolution of both Houses to extend the martial law in Mindanao.
“We welcome that… so that our people would be more encouraged,” Lorenzana said.
Congress convened Saturday to tackle Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao. His martial law proclamation is set to expire today July 22, after the 60-day period prescribed in the 1987 Constitution. IDL
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