DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The proposal by the Constitutional Commission (Con-Com) to include “lawless violence” as a basis for the declaration of martial law poses a great danger as it may result to the curbing of the basic rights of Filipinos, a human rights group disclosed.
In a statement, Karapatan is reflecting on such inclusion as “a dangerous prelude to a nationwide declaration of martial law.
Introduced by Retired General Ferdinand Bocobo, a member of the con-com that was formed by President Rodrigo Duterte, “lawless violence has been defined to include “terrorism” and “violent extremism.”
The con-com asserted that “lawless elements” will be inserted as additional grounds for martial law declaration as stated in the 1987 Constitution, particularly Article VII, Section 18.
Aside from the possibility of leading to a nationwide declaration of martial law, Karapatan said the proposal will also bear serious implications to the ongoing peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Karapatan added: “there is a great probability that the inclusion and subsequent interpretation of the proposed provisions will enable the curtailment of basic rights and freedoms, denial of legal remedies, and further establishment of military rule in the country.
The group has lambasted the administration of Duterte for the imposition of martial law in Mindanao in May last year.
Various groups, including Karapatan have documented cases of human rights violations within one year that Mindanao is under martial law.
[See related story: 1st year anniversary of Duterte’s Martial Law: A bloody year for Mindanao, rights group say]
Karapatan slammed Malacañang for its continued refusal to lift the imposition of martial law in Mindanao.
In the same statement, the group said the unrelenting belief of the Duterte administration to martial law “speaks of its militarist and ineffective approach in addressing the root causes of the social problems that spawned the armed conflicts in Mindanao and elsewhere.”
Martial law, the group added, is among the tools of Duterte to suppress the exercise of legitimate dissent and of people’s direct actions to uphold basic rights and democratic interests.
Karapatan also hit Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and urged him to “make an accounting of the efforts done by government officials and agencies on the several complaints of human rights violations by state forces during the period of implementation of martial law in Mindanao.”
Roque was quoted dismissing the complaints and cases of human rights violations during the imposition of martial law in Mindanao as reported by Karapatan.
“Instead of outrightly dismissing these complaints, Roque should know that several of these complaints have been filed in courts, before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the GRP and NDFP,” Karapatan added. (davaotoday.com)