Philippine Constabulary revival a ‘vestige of martial law’–Lagman | Inquirer News
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Philippine Constabulary revival a ‘vestige of martial law’–Lagman

/ 01:30 PM September 23, 2016

A minority lawmaker whose brother disappeared during martial law criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for his plan to revive the Philippine Constabulary (PC) to curb urban terrorism.

In a statement, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said this plan reeks of being a “vestige” of martial law, one of the country’s darkest periods when dictator Ferdinand Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus, resulting in numerous human rights violations and enforced disappearances.

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“The plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to revive the Philippine Constabulary (PC) … is a vestige of martial law even as it is unconstitutional,” Lagman said.
Lagman said Duterte’s plan violates Section 6, Article XVI of the 1987 Constitution which states that: “The State shall establish and maintain one police force, which shall be national in scope and civilian in character, to be administered and controlled by a national police commission.”

In his speech on Tuesday at a military camp in Compostela Valley, Duterte expressed his desire to revive the PC under the command of the military to fight urban terrorism. Duterte likened it to the Special Action Force (SAF) directly under the command of the Philippine National Police.

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READ: Duterte eyes revival of Philippine Constabulary

“I will return the Philippine Constabulary under the four commands – army tapos (then) Philippine Constabulary kasi kailangan ko ng tao sa (because I need people against) urban terrorism like the SAF,” Duterte then said.

Lagman cited the history of abuses under martial law carried out by the PC upon Marcos’ orders.

The Philippine Constabulary, its roots dating back to 1901 as the insular police force of the American colonial regime, was used by Marcos to crack down on dissent after he declared martial rule.

“It must be recalled that the late President Ferdinand Marcos extensively used the PC as the police force in implementing martial law by arresting, detaining and torturing the victims of atrocities during the martial law regime as well as the takeover of private establishments and media outlets,” Lagman said.

The PC as Marcos’ paramilitary police force was abolished by the succeeding president Corazon Aquino in 1991. The PC merged with the Integrated National Police and select members of the service units in the military to form the current civilian national police force the Philippine National Police.

Lagman said this relic of the country’s darkest period should be left behind in the bin of history.

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“The machinery of a militarized police must be consigned to the dark era of the past,” he said.

Lagman’s brother Hermon, a human rights lawyer, was a victim of enforced disappearance during the martial law regime. Lagman has opposed the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. CDG

READ: Lagman on Marcos burial: Libingan for heroes, not for plunderers

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TAGS: Edcel Lagman, Martial law, Philippine Constabulary (PC), Rodrigo Duterte, urban terrorism
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