‘Martial law extension few steps to nationwide expansion’

Feb. 07, 2018

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Supreme Court decision which affirmed President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2018 faced opposition from various leftist groups in the country.

“Just as the Duterte-controlled supermajority in Congress colluded to approve the extension of martial law last December 2017, the Supreme Court followed through with a rubber stamp to legitimize martial rule, completing the ingredients for a full-fledged tyranny,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Palabay added it will the extension will “create a favorable condition ” for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to “continue its rampage on people’s rights with impunity.”

Karapatan cited numerous human rights abuses including politically motivated killings, forced evacuations, massacres and food blockades happening in Mindanao since the martial rule was declared.

‘License to kill’

Peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the High Court’s decision is a proof of its “political submission” to the Palace.

“If Congress is Duterte’s stamp pad, the Supreme Court is shamelessly acting as the President’s ‘judicial enabler’,” says KMP secretary general Antonio Flores.

Antonio said “It’s a go-signal and a renewal of AFP’s license to kill,” citing that 111 farmers were killed under the Duterte administration.

One of the petitioners, Gabriela Women’s Party representative Arlene Brosas lamented that the SC “casts deaf ears on Maranaos plea.”

“Even during the joint session, human rights victims and survivors of the martial law in Mindanao were not allowed to speak in halls of the Congress to tell the horrors’ they faced under martial rule. And now the Supreme Court believes that it is just to extend the martial rule for another year,” Brosas said.

She added, “This decision is an insult to their plight and to the terror they have to face every day.”

In his Facebook account, chairperson of the Moro Consensus Group Drieza Lininding expressed dissent over the decision.

“The extension of ML (martial law) means that they can loot whatever is left of our properties, they can continue to terrorize us and violate our human rights! Marawi and Lanao del Sur is now the Palestine of the South East Asia,” Lininding said.

He also acknowledged the efforts of various petitioners and expressed solidarity and said, “to our brave Filipino friends who filed the petition in the SC to junk ML (martial law) my respect and salute and know there’s hundreds o [sic] thousands if not millions of people suffering from this aggressive regime who grieve with you.”

Nationwide martial law warning?

ACT Teachers Representative France Castro, in a statement, warned the public to be vigilant as the decision is just a “few steps” to declaring a martial rule nationwide.

“We should be vigilant with the recent attacks against activists and human rights defenders as these attacks may be used as an excuse to expand martial law.”

“They are now laying the predicate for military rule over the entire country, raising conspiracy theories and fake news of destabilization plots,” Castro said. (davaotoday.com)

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