A prelude for ML extension? DND chief says people can trust the gov’t if ML is extended

Jul. 12, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Left) and General Eduardo Año (Right), June 11, at the Camp Brig. General Edilberto Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City. (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Department of National Defense Secretary and Martial Law Administrator Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday assured the Filipino people that they can trust the country’s defense and security establishments if the imposition of martial law is extended.

In a statement, Lorenzana said: “Every decision we make and operation we undertake is anchored on the rule of law and respect for human rights.”

Lorenzana’s statement was posted on the website of the government’s television network PTV on Tuesday, July 11.

“They can trust their Armed Forces to protect them and advance the people’s best interest,” he added.

Though he did not categorically confirm of the measure’s extension, the defense chief said martial law declaration “is an extraordinary power of the President as Commander-in-Chief.”

But such declaration, he added, must be resorted only when warranted by circumstances involving national security.

“Our Constitution has prescribed limitations precisely to prevent its being abused as it has implications for the country’s peace and order, economy, trade, tourism, and our people’s way of life,” Lorenzana said.

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte said he has no plans to lift the imposition of martial law before his State of the Nation Address adding that he depends on the recommendation of the police and the military. Duterte will deliver his SONA on July 24, Monday.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also made a proposal last week to extend the martial law declaration up to the end of Duterte’s term in 2022.

Malacanang said the speaker’s proposal was only his personal opinion.

Lorenzana said the defense department is also respecting the position of the country’s lawmakers and expressed appreciation for their continued support to the military.

“As the Administrator of Martial Law in Mindanao, we will follow whatever path will be laid out by the national government,” he said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines also deplored last week the plan to extend martial law, saying that the measure only heightened the military offensives against the New People’s Army as manifested in the intensified aerial bombardments in communities and rural areas.

Martial law, the CPP added, continue to violate the civil and political rights of the Filipino people through checkpoints and random searches done by soldiers.

The measure also posed grave threats against the right of the people to express views, it said. (davaotoday.com)

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