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De facto martial law? Roque rebuffs parallelism between Duterte, Marcos rules

/ 02:47 PM September 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang said Monday that the situation in the country under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte is very different from that under martial law declared by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1972.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque cited his learnings as a law student in proving this point, as the country remembers the 48th anniversary of military rule proclaimed by Marcos.

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“Hay naku po. Alam niyo po ako, lumaki ako sa martial law. Naglaw school po ako, walang saligang batas, freedom constitution lamang,” he said in a press briefing when asked to comment on the statement of rights group Karapatan that Duterte’s “de facto martial law” should end.

(You know, I grew up in martial law. I studied law. There was only a freedom constitution before.)

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“Ang masasabi ko po, ibang-iba na po ang konteksto ngayon. Dati po naisasara ang Kongreso, naisasara ang Supreme Court. Ngayon po walang ganyang kapangyarihan ang presidente at ang deklarasyon ng martial law ngayon ay pwedeng kwestyunin sa Kongreso, pwedeng kwestyunin sa hukuman dahil nga natuto na tayo sa mapait na karanasan natin sa martial law noong 1972,” he also said.

(What I can only say is, the context is really different now. Before, the Congress and Supreme Court was shut down. But now, the president does not have that power. The declaration of martial law can also now be questioned in courts because we have already learned from our experiences in the martial law in 1972.)

In a statement, Karapatan pointed out that human rights defenders are illegally arrested on falsified charges or brutally killed under the reign of Duterte.

Supposed “repressive laws” such as the Anti-Terrorism Act were also passed despite massive public opposition, as press freedom suffered attacks as in the shutdown of ABS-CBN’s broadcast operations, according to Karapatan.

In April this year, Duterte warned he might declare martial law should lawlessness caused by communist rebels continue.

Later in May, he assured Filipinos that the government is not thinking of placing the entire country under military rule just to implement measures to avoid more coronavirus infections.

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TAGS: Karapatan, President Rodrigo Duterte
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