‘Mas masaya’: Pacquiao favors martial law extension in Mindanao

Camille Elemia
‘Mas masaya’: Pacquiao favors martial law extension in Mindanao
(UPDATED) But Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon opposes it saying it is unconstitutional and has no factual basis

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Senator Manny Pacquiao expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2018. (READ: Duterte asks Congress for 1-year martial law extension)

Pacquiao, a party mate of Duterte in the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said people in Mindanao favor the extension of martial law for security reasons.

“Taga GenSan [General Santos City] ako, wala naman, mas masaya nga kami sa martial law ng Mindanao dahil safe kami, nakakalabas kami, nakakalakad kami [na] wala kaming bodyguard… Mas maganda,” Pacquiao told reporters on Monday, December 11.

(I’m from GenSan. We’re more happy that there is martial law in Mindanao because we’re safe, we can go out into the streets, we can walk without bodyguards. It’s better.)

Asked if one year is too long for such a declaration, Pacquiao said the President knows what he is doing and that there have been no abuses under the current martial law.

“Para sa amin sa Mindanao, ‘di rin naman namin nararamdaman ‘yung martial law. As usual pa rin. Gano’n pa rin. Walang problema, walang nang-aabuso,” Pacquiao said.

(For us in Mindanao, we don’t feel that we’re under martial law. Everything’s the same. No problems, no abuses.)

“Ngayon kung may nang-aabuso at ‘di naaksyunan, magreklamo tayo. Pero wala naman eh. Maganda naman ginagawa ng ating Pangulo,” he added.

(Now, if there are people committing abuses and these are not being addressed, we should complain. But there are none. The President has been doing a good job.)

Senators’ views

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, another lawmaker from Mindanao and party mate of Duterte, said people on the ground are satisfied with the results of the declaration.

“Wala naman akong natatanggap na negative report. ‘Pag nagtatanong naman ako, parang this is a benevolent martial law. Ako lumaki din ako sa time ng Martial Law na takot lahat, may curfew, takot magsalita. Sa Mindanao, hindi daw. Iba nga eh. Walang effect except that out of the camps ang mga military. That is the only effect,” Pimentel said in an interview.

(I have not received any negative report. When I ask around, it seems this is a benevolent martial law. Me, I grew up during Martial Law when everyone was afraid, we had a curfew, people were scared to speak. In Mindanao, that’s not the case. It’s different. It has no effect except that soldiers are out of the camps.)

Senator Panfilo Lacson, for his part, said he is open to both options.

“Wala akong masyadong concern kung ma-extend man o hindi. Kasi naroon pa rin ang basic rights, civil rights. ‘Di mata-trample ang mga basic rights natin, ‘yung against illegal arrest or illegal searches, naroon pa rin,” Lacson said.

(I’m not too concerned whether it will be extended or not. People still have their basic rights, civil rights. Our basic rights cannot be trampled on, our protection against illegal arrest or illegal searches remains.)

But Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon opposes Duterte’s move, reiterating that it has no factual basis. He also earlier said the President’s request is “unconstitutional.”

“[There should be an] actual armed uprising constituting rebellion or invasion, and when public safety requires it. In an extension, the same standards must apply,” Drilon said.

Duterte has asked Congress to extend martial law in the region by one year to “totally eradicate” Islamic State-inspired terror groups.

In his letter, sent to media on Monday, the President requested that martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus be extended from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.

The 5-month martial law extension Congress earlier granted Duterte expires on December 31 this year.

Congress is set to hold a joint session to discuss the second extension of martial law in Mindanao on Wednesday, December 13. – Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.