Robredo calls on Congress to scrutinize request for martial law extension
Vice President Leni Robredo has urged Congress to scrutinize the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in Mindanao for another year during its deliberations.
Although Robredo maintained her trust in the judgement of defense officials, she said Senate and House lawmakers should take a deeper look into the request when Congress convenes in a joint session on Wednesday, Dec. 13.
Congress will tackle Duterte’s five-page letter seeking approval from both chambers to extend martial law. Among the reasons behind the recommendation that Duterte cited is the continuous threats posed by different terror groups.
“Sana sa hearing, mapag-usapan iyong mga tanong na nasa isip nating lahat ( I hope they discuss and ask all the questions on our minds),” Robredo said in an interview in Marikina City on Tuesday.
“Inaasahan natin iyong ating mga senador at mga kongresista, itatanong iyong mga nasa likod ng isip natin para klaro kung bakit kailangan, gaano katagal talaga, at ano iyong puwedeng asahan habang na-e-extend iyong martial law,” she said.
(That’s what we have to ask. For me, we expect that our senators and congressmen will ask all the questions at the back of our minds to clarify why [martial law] is needed, for how long in reality, and what we can expect during the extension.)
Robredo said the executive and security officials should be able to justify the need to extend the military rule in the entire Mindanao.
“Unang-una, bakit kailangang isang taon? Sunod, bakit kailangang buong Mindanao? Pangatlo, ano ba iyong mga dagdag na kapangyarihan na puwedeng ibigay ng martial law sa pamahalaan para makatulong para mas ma-fast track—number one, para ma-fast track iyong rehabilitation ng Marawi; pangalawa, ma-ensure iyong seguridad sa lugar,” Robredo said.
(First, why should it take one year? Next, why the whole Mindanao? Third, what are the powers that should be granted to the administrator to fast track – number one the rehabilitation of Marawi; number two the security of the city.)
The Vice President also raised concerns on the martial law’s effect on war-torn Marawi City, whether this would hasten or slow down the rehabilitation of the city.
She said the lawmakers should also ensure that there would be safeguards in place against corruption and human rights abuse. “Nagtatanong din po tayo ano ba iyong tulong ng martial law para mapabilis iyong rehabilitasyon? Gusto ba nitong sabihin na iyong mga regular na proseso ay puwedeng i-shortcut? Kung ang sagot doon oo, ano ba iyong mga safeguards para hindi maabuso, para walang korapsyon na mangyari?” Robredo said.
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