DAVAO CITY –A high ranking official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said it would not recommend the suspension of freedom of expression but warned it would exercise its right to censure under the state of Martial Law in Mindanao.
“The AFP has not recommended the suspension of the freedom of expression but will exercise the right to censure,” AFP Spokesperson for the implementation of Martial Law, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said in a press conference on Friday, May 26 at Royal Mandaya Hotel, this city.
Padilla said that the right to censure the media including social media aims “to protect lives of the people, soldiers and national security of the country.”
“That’s why we are appealing now for you to use your common sense. If you know that it could harm the public and it does not help, don’t post it. Time may come, a police might be knocking at your door to arrest you,” he said.
Joining Padilla in Friday’s press conference were Solicitor General Jose Calida and Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella.
He further explained that the right to censure would ensure the safety of lives, operational security and the safety of government soldiers in uniform who are fighting against the Maute group.
Padilla said that this will be part of the Martial Law guidelines being crafted which will now be on the part of the administrator to exercise.
“The reason these guidelines have to be set, to be given and censure part is because of the things we have been seeing in the operational environment. You yourselves have seen that tremendous disinformation clouds or creates a thick fog of war that does not allow a better operational picture or provide a better operational picture of the battlefield,” Padilla said.
Meanwhile, Solicitor General Jose Calida said that the proclamation of Martial Law and thesuspension of the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus in Mindanao should not be “a cause for alarm for the law-abiding citizens.”
“The least we can do as law-abiding citizens is to repose our trust in the wisdom and determination of President Duterte to excise this evil in our land,” Calida said. (davaotoday.com)