MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez told critics of the martial law declaration in Mindanao to refrain from making comments if they are not from the region.
Alvarez made the statement on Tuesday, May 30 as he defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to declare martial in Mindanao following following clashes between government forces and the Maute terror Group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur last week.
“Sixty days lang naman ‘yan eh! Maigsi lang ‘yong panahon na ‘yan, 60 days! Ang dami lang kyaw-kyaw kasi eh. Karamihan ng nagrereklamo ‘di naman din taga Mindanao,” said Alvarez.
(It will only last for 60 days! That’s just a short time, 60 days! There are so many criticisms. Most of those who are complaining are not from Mindanao,)
He said Mindanaoans themselves understand the need for martial law because of their firsthand experiences, unlike critics from Luzon or the Visayas.
“Alam ‘nyo kasi, ‘pag taga doon ka, mafi-feel mo na kailangan talaga at tama ‘yong ginawa ng Presidente. Kung hindi ka naman taga roon, taga rito ka o taga saan ka, eh medyo tumahimik ka na lang muna,” said Alvarez.
(You know, if you’re from there, you’ll feel that the President is really doing about he needed, and the right thing. If you’re not from there, you’re from here or wherever, you just shut up.)
Like Alvarez, other Mindanao lawmakers had said that martial rule will help address the region’s peace and order problems, which include attacks from rebel groups.
The 1987 Constitution allows the President to declare martial law for 60 days, but any extension requires the approval of Congress in a joint session. The Supreme Court may also review a martial law declaration following an “appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen.”
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, however, believes Congress does not need to concur with the declaration and only needs to convene when revoking or extending martial law. (READ: No joint session on martial law? Congress ‘shields’ Duterte)
Opposition lawmakers have called g for a joint session, and slammed Duterte for his supposed “creeping authoritarianism” following Proclamation No. 216. (READ: No joint session on martial law is a cover-up, say opposition lawmakers)
Opposition senators had filed a resolution calling for a joint session, but 15 senators also signed a Senate resolution expressing support for the martial law declaration.
The House has scheduled an all-members meeting with Cabinet officials and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Governor Mujiv Hataman at 9 am Wednesday, May 31, to get a briefing on the situation in Mindanao.
In December 2009, a joint public session was convened at least thrice after then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared martial law in Maguindanao following the Maguindanao massacre. – Rappler.com