Petititoners see ‘de facto military junta’
Opposition lawmakers said the Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law proclamation in Mindanao had placed the country under a “de facto military junta.”
“This can be a springboard to expanding [martial law] to the entire country considering how easy Congress bends to Malacañang’s will and now that they know the Supreme Court isn’t allergic to use their constitutional powers to affirm martial law,” said Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat.
Baguilat, one of the petitioners who demanded the rejection of Mr. Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216, said an extension of martial law would be a “draconian step to institutionalizing a dictatorship and must be opposed by democracy defenders in Congress.”
“I am vigorously opposed to a perpetual state of martial law in Mindanao. That seems to be the modus operandi now of the administration and their congressional allies now that the Supreme Court has rejected the petitions nullifying martial law,” he said.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said the court’s ruling effectively placed the Philippines in the hands of a de facto military junta.
“This is an ominous development that may place the country in an even more dangerous position. We could expect an emboldened military and police to commit more human rights violations and further endanger the lives of our people not just in Marawi but the whole of Mindanao,” he said.
Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin warned of a “creeping authoritarian rule” in the guise of public safety and security.
“Now that he is cloaked with such authority, President Duterte might push it to the limit and declare a drug-induced nationwide rebellion by terror groups. Martial law becomes a hard habit to break,” he said.
Villarin noted that the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines had just stated that they wished to extend martial law by two more months.
“The war on drugs took a back seat when the Marawi incident happened but is now back in full swing. Duterte earlier tagged the Mautes to be in cahoots with the drug lords,” he said.
“The Supreme Court has reneged on its role as the last institutional rampart against abuse of the executive’s martial law power,” said ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio.
Only in Lanao del Sur
“I’m afraid that this Supreme Court will go down in history as having paved the way for state repression against citizens in the name of a prolonged and expanded martial law based on nebulous and shifting grounds,” he said.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said: “Placing the entire Mindanao under martial law is difficult to comprehend and justify when the crisis is taking place only in the province of Lanao del Sur.”
Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said the military now would be “emboldened to carry out aerial strikes, indiscriminate firing and the use of rape as a tool of war against civilians.”
“The decision sets the ground for the arbitrary declaration of a nationwide martial law, as it upheld the presence of rebellion based merely on inaccurate and fake reports by the military,” Brosas said.
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