Drilon: Is call for Mindanao martial law extension a prelude to nationwide military rule?
“Is the request for extension a prelude to the declaration of martial law nationwide?”
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon questioned on Wednesday the request of President Rodrigo Duterte for a year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao, saying it has no legal basis.
The senator asked why the conflict with the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), was suddenly an additional basis on the request for the extension of martial law.
“The NPA has been there for the last four decades, suddenly it is in the request for extension,” he said during a joint session tackling the request for extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Duterte recently declared the NPA as terrorists shortly after the peace talks between the government and communist rebels collapsed. The President cited the supposed insincerity of the communist rebels in the peace negotiations, as the armed group continues to carry out attacks against government forces.
Drilon insisted that the request to extend martial law extension in Mindanao for another year is unconstitutional.
“The Constitution is clear that Congress can only extend the proclamation of martial law in case of actual, public uprising and taking arms against the government,” he said.
“The government through Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana declared the rebellion in Marawi City to have been terminated and no longer exists. It is on this basis that we believe that the continued imposition of martial law up to Dec. 31 is unconstitutional,” Drilon said.
The senator asserted that “actual” rebellion no longer exists in the region, but merely threats.
“Actual armed conflict is the basis for the continued declaration of martial law,” he pointed out.
Duterte declared martial law in the entire Mindanao last May 23 when the Maute Group attacked Marawi City. The 60-day promulgation ended last July 22 but was later extended by Congress until December 31, 2017. /kga
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