Lawyers’ group slams military’s ‘abuses’ in Mindanao
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Lanao del Sur chapter denounced the abuses allegedly committed by the police and military in the implementation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao.
“As highly placed reports are pouring in after several days of clearing operations conducted by military men, the IBP-Lanao del Sur Chapter has been utterly shocked to use a milder term by sheer magnitude of wanton disregard of sanctity of domicile, the right against deprivation of property without due process of law, the right to be secure in one’s person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures and the privacy of communication and correspondence of innocent civilians committed by AFP and PNP who take pride of being the protector of the people,” the IBP said in a statement which was attached to a manifestation submitted to the Supreme Court Thursday by anti-martial law petitioners.
The IBP said that while it has expressed support to the martial law proclamation to flush out members of the Maute group, it remained vigilant on possible abuses.
It noted that there have been incidents of illegal searches and seizures, loss of valuable personal belongings of innocent civilians.
“Residential and commercial establishments have been laid open to looters all over the besieged city,” it stated.
The IBP called “the wholesale illegal searches and seizures-unparalleled in its magnitude for even the Marcos years of Martial rule [pale] in comparison.”
Because of this, the IBP Lanao del Sur expressed its “severe outrage and condemnation over illegal searches and seizures in Marawi City by military men, police and other law enforcement agencies which results in rampant loss and deprivation of properties and possessions of innocent civilians.”
The IBP said several private residential and commercial establishments have been searched without warrants and done “without the presence of the media, the owners or any authorized persons” with the police and military showing “total disregard of plain view doctrine of searches and seizures activities.”
“As shown in video footages and pictures posted in social media, military men who committed these criminal acts in public exhibited no remorse,” it noted.
“And yet, no one raises a voice of dissent,” the IBP chapter lamented.
Meanwhile, it called on martial law administrator, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, to “immediately stop searches and seizures without court warrants.”
It also asked Lorenzana to “create a credible multi-agency investigation committee composed of independent groups and individuals to avoid whitewash and ensure impartial findings and swift prosecution.”
“If, in the remotest possibility, this urgent plea falls on deaf ears, the IBP-Lanao del Sur Chapter will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action,” it warned. IDL/rga
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