Drilon: Martial law for ‘psychological impact’ invalid basis for extension
Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon believes the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has recommended the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao because of its “psychological impact.”
“Apparently, the Armed Forces has recommended the extension of martial law for its psychological impact. I’m afraid that is not a valid basis for the extension or martial law,” Drilon told reporters after attending the briefing of Palace and security officials at the Senate.
He also asserted that the continuing threat from the New People’s Army, which was recently declared as terrorist organization by President Rodrigo Duterte himself, was not a “sufficient ground” to justify the martial law extension.
The NPA threat, he said, was one of the five reasons cited by Duterte when he asked Congress to approve the martial law extension.
“We note that the first reason occupied one page of the request. The citation of the fifth reason, which is the NPA threat, constitutes one whole page. The issue as raised: why, if it’s an extension of an original six-month period or martial law, the NPA is not a factor then? Bakit ngayon NPA na ang sinasabi?” Drilon asked.
Last May, Duterte declared martial law in the region after the Maute group attacked Marawi City. Congress approved in July the martial law extension until December 31 this year.
“There are some issues as to the basis for extension. Still we maintain that armed uprising is an essential factor to justify a declaration of a martial law or any extension,” the minority leader said.
“And from what we heard, it’s a psychological advantage; our security forces want teeth in enforcing the law; and the threat of a continuing rebellion, to us, is not a sufficient ground. A threat is different from an actual armed uprising,” Drilon added.
Among those who briefed the senators about the martial law extension were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, and Local Government Undersecretary Eduardo Año.
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