After Mindanao, Duterte wants to put PH under martial law – Trillanes
MANILA, Philippines – Minority Senator Antonio Trillanes IV slammed President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao, saying the Chief Executive is aiming to put the entire country under military rule.
Trillanes said declaring martial law in the entire Mindanao is “baseless” and “not warranted,” as the conflict is only confined to Marawi in Lanao del Sur.
He added that Duterte did not even give the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) enough time to assess and act on the matter.
Citing information he received, Trillanes said the AFP also did not request such declaration from the President to fight the Maute terrorist group.
“In short, hindi warranted na mag-declare ng martial law sa buong Mindanao. Kung sakali man hihingin ito ng Armed Forces, which hindi naman hinihingi, ay dapat doon lang sa area of conflict,” Trillanes told reporters on Wednesday, May 24.
(In short, the declaration of martial in the whole of Mindanao is not warranted. If the Armed Forces askes for it – which it didn't – it would only be in the area of conflict.)
For the senator, Duterte's fiercest critic, the President was clearly planning to do it all along.
“Napansin ko lang sa pag-declare niya ay parang naging trigger-happy na kating-kati mag-declare na di man lang binigyan ng kaunting panahon ang Armed Forces to give an assessment, control situation bago nagdeclare,” he said.
(I noticed in his declaration that he has become trigger-happy and itching to make a declaration without even giving the Armed Forces a little time to give an assessment, and to control the situation, before making a declaration.)
Mindanao now, whole Philippines tomorrow?
Senators went on a closed-door caucus on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the matter. (READ: Martial law 101)
Other senators welcomed Duterte's decision while some questioned why the whole Mindanao has to be placed under martial law.
Trillanes, for his part, said he would convince his colleagues to limit the President, as Duterte is clearly testing the waters for a nationwide military rule.
“Yes, kasi sabi ko rito, 'pag bibigyan mo ng palugit ito si Duterte, ang susunod nito buong Pilipinas na. Sinasanay niya, kinokondisyon niya isipan ng mamamayan na martial law ay okay lang. Di 'yan – extreme option yan. [Ang] requisites nga niyan ay invasion or rebellion eh,” Trillanes said.
(Yes, I told them, if you give Duterte some leeway, it will be the entire Philippines next. He is already training, conditioning the minds of the people that martial law is okay. It's not – it's an extreme option. The requisites for that is invasion or rebellion.)
"I believe tinutulak nya ang boundaries at pasensya ng mamamayan at ng iba't ibang institusyon at sector kung hanggang saan kaya 'yung pagtulak ng kapangyarihan niya. Kung pagbigyan natin ito ngayon, malamang aabusuhin nya ito at buong bansa ang madedeclare na martial law," he added.
(I believe he is pushing the boundaries and patience of the people and various institutions, and the extent of his powers. If we give in to him now, he would likely abuse it, and there will be a martial declaration for the whole country.)
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) issued the same warning, saying that if Duterte gets congressional support for his martial law declaration in Mindanao, he would be “emboldened” to take it nationwide.
"If Duterte succeeds in securing congressional support for martial law in Mindanao, he will surely be emboldened to impose martial law on the entire country. He can easily come up with more pretexts such as 'fighting criminality' and so on," the CPP said in a statement on Wednesday.
"The imposition of martial law in Mindanao is part actualization of Duterte's declared plans to establish himself as a strongman. His resort to such draconian measures, however, are evidence of the increasingly weak and fractious ruling state and the worsening crisis of the entire ruling system. It has a much wider target and purpose," it added.
The CPP said Duterte even declared that his brand of martial law would be same as that of Marcos, "foreboding the worst kinds of human rights violations and fascist attacks against the people."
"In doing so, Duterte has practically ordered the AFP soldiers to impose its rule and carry out more abuses with extreme impunity. The Filipino people will hold him directly responsible for all the abuses perpetrated by the military and police under his martial rule," it said.
Duterte has repeatedly threatened to declare martial law since he took office in June 30. He has also threatened to shut down Congress. (READ: Duterte says his martial law to be similar to Marcos time)
The 1987 Constitution says the imposition of martial law should not exceed 60 days, and that Congress has the power to either revoke or extend it.
Crafted after the EDSA People Power revolution that ousted the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, the 1987 Constitution highlights the role of other branches of government in the martial law declaration. The provisions are meant precisely to prevent grave abuse and stop another Marcos from tinkering with civil rights.
Within 48 hours after its declaration, the President shall submit a report “in person or in writing” to Congress. The declaration can also be revoked by a vote by Congress. The Supreme Court may review the basis of its declaration.
Duterte is the 3rd Philippine president to declare martial law post-World War II, after Marcos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who declared martial law in Maguindanao in 2009 after the Maguindanao massacre. – Rappler.com