Duterte declares martial law in Mindanao, following terror threats

On Tuesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared a 60-day martial law on the whole island of Mindanao.

The President’s declaration came after the Philippine military engaged the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City in Mindanao.

Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says the Philippine army and police were about to serve a warrant of arrest to Isnilon Totoni Hapilon — a high ranking Abu Sayyaf official, who allegedly served as deputy or second in command.

Hapilon — one of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists — was indicted in Washington DC for his alleged involvement in terrorism and violent acts against Americans and foreign nationals in and around the Philippines.

Information leading directly to the arrest or conviction of Hapilon carries a reward of up to %5 million dollars.

“Isnilon was there,” sid Lorenzana. “He was seeking medical attention and when he was approached to be; his hideout or his safe-house was approached, to arrest him; they started firing at our soldiers. That’s why there was this encounter… Akala nila kayang kaya, but, there’s intelligence there it’s just the appreciation of what the intelligence means, medyo nagkamali sila…

For Filipinos in New York watching these development on social media and on TV, the biggest question is how exactly is declaring martial law going to help stop terrorism in Mindanao.

“Martial law is never the answer to any crisis in the Philippines, it actually only aggravates the problem… it never and causes more suffering, it actually never resolves anything,” said Bernadette Ellorin of Bayan USA.

Typically under martial rule: curfews are imposed.

Civil law, civil rights, and the writ of habeas corpus are suspended — that means persons are denied the right to challenge the reason or condition of their arrest, and can be held without trial indefinitely.

Civilians defying martial law will be tried by a military tribunal.

Attorney Jackie Mariano says that declaring martial law based on the events in Marawi City is not justifiable.

“History has shown that martial law has only opened up the possibilities for further human rights violations,” said Mariano. “This decades-long struggle of armed conflict in Mindanao cannot be solved with more militarization.”

Mariano says the president alone cannot declare martial law. He needs the Philippine Congress’ approval within 48 hours of declaration.

“After a formal declaration of martial law by the president, the president has 48 hours to appear to Congress to make a case for why he has declared martial and it is within Congress’ power to either decide to revoke martial law or to extend it..  so as Filipinos, we really need to pressure the Congress that we stand against this; we know the effects of martial law.”

For survivors of martial rule under the Marcoses, martial law means the suppression of the political opposition.

A Duterte supporter and a victim of torture under Marcos, Potri Ranka Manis says, never again.

“I’m one of the supporters, but I don’t believe that martial law is the solution in all this,” she said. “The president is intelligent enough to look into this, so I would like to call for removing that martial law — and that’s too much for the whole Mindanao to be given that control.”

Anti-martial law advocates say kababayans should not forget that President Duterte promised to solve the Philippines’ drug addiction problem in six months — a promise yet to be fulfilled.

And now, the president is promising to solve the current problem in Mindanao in 60 days.


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  • Santiago Del Mundo
    25 May 2017 at 11:10 am - Reply

    When President Marcos declared martial law, all the losers like Nur Misuari went to hiding in other country and MNLF-MILF was down to the storm drain…but all the whining -cry baby one sided liberals like Misuari or Jose Maria Sison would not be man enough to tell you the truth. Great job President Duterte!