Año says martial law abuses all speculations
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Eduardo Año on Saturday said human rights violations under martial law in Mindanao are all speculations for now.
Año made the statement in response to the interpellation of Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, who said martial law “is an extreme solution to an extreme problem,” during the special joint session of Congress to tackle the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in Mindanao.
Año said despite accounts of alleged human rights abuses by the military in Mindanao, the military has never intended to violate human rights under martial law.
“Kahit marami casualty, never naming naisip na gagawa ng human rights violation (Even the number of casualty is high, we do not intend to commit human-rights violation),” Año said.
Año urged the lawmakers and the public to remove from their minds a picture depicting that human-rights violations are an inevitable result of the imposition of martial law, adding that these reported human-rights violations are mere “speculations” for now.
Martial law has been tagged with human-rights violations due to the country’s bitter history during the dictatorship of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, who cemented his two-decade rule through martial law amid human-rights violations, enforced disappearances, and torture.
“Kaya alisin po natin ang pag-iisip na ang martial law ay magdudulot ng human-rights violations. Karamihan po ay speculation (That is why we should erase in our minds that martial law will bring human-rights violations),” Año said.
Año vowed that the AFP will investigate any reports of human-rights violations being committed by the military in Mindanao.
“Nakahanda kami sa anumang complaint. Ako mismo, I will ensure parurusahan natin kung merong lalabag sa karapatang pantao (We are ready for any complaint. I, myself, will ensure those who will violate human rights will be punished),” Año 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. JPV
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