Panelo: Duterte may place Negros Oriental under martial law
President Duterte may place Negros Oriental under martial law to quell lawless violence on the island and put an end to the killings allegedly carried out by communist rebels, a Palace official said.
“He has many options under the Constitution. He can call the Armed Forces of the Philippines to quell lawless violence. He can declare martial law,” said presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday.
He added that the President would likely use his emergency powers soon to address the unrest in the province, following the slaying of four cops, a lawyer and some local officials last week.
Panelo said land claimants were involved in the armed hostilities and that communist rebels “arbitrarily choose who will occupy or own the land.”
He said a declaration of martial law in Negros Oriental would be separate from the military rule being enforced in Mindanao. The President was of the view that the police could not handle the spate of killings in the island, Panelo added.
But rights groups on Thursday condemned Mr. Duterte’s pronouncement about declaring martial law in Negros, saying it would significantly impact the already dismal human rights situation in the island.
“As what we have seen in the course of martial law implementation in Mindanao, we foresee extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and other rights violations by State forces once martial law is declared in Negros,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.
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