STAGE

President Duterte could be setting the stage to expand the coverage of Martial Law in Mindanao.

That was the key take away of some critical lawmakers after a 5 hour closed door executive session of the House of Representatives Committee of the Whole.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano stressed he heard nothing new from the executive session and insisted that martial law be limited to lanao del sur.” but im not convicned na dapat magkaroonng martial law  inorder to address the problem in marawi at most pwede sa lanao del sur i doubt martial law satisfies the requirement of rebellion or invetsment.”

But Alejano is worried by a statement that martial law wont just be used to quell terrorism. “walang malaking pagbabago details na operational. isang well naging statement ng leadership na di lamang ang terrorism ang addressin ng prublema. “

Alejano recalled that some of the reasons  for martial law cited  in the session cant be addressed within the 60 day limit of the constitution. “kungdi asg biff historical sociocultural kung ganun ang basehan ng ml ibig sabihin you cannot resolve within 60 days and thoughout the term of the president you wont be able to address the problems considering the fact those basis are existing in other  parts of the country.kung ganun ang dahilan ibig sabihin magdedeclare ka ng martial law all over the country at hanggang andiyan ka sa pwesto”

Alejano added, “ang pagka basehan ay issue ng matagal nang pinaglalaban ng rebelde social injsutice historical injustcie di matatapos ng 60 days  kahit sa term niya di matatapos yan…the point is you wont be able to solve that within a short period of time that means youre going to extend that not only in mindanao but the entire country…pati nga drugs doon nakasama”

Alejano points out that Duterte appeared to be itching to declare martial law for a long time now.”i believe so. noon pa man ay direksyon ng pangulo magdedeclare ng pangulo naghahanap lang siya ng kadahalinan.”

 Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate  is wary of how this may affect the peace talks with rebel groups. “mas nakakabahala yung paliwang halimbawa ito naman public record yung general order 31 in relation to martial law mas malinaw doon na ang sasakpin ay lahat na ng rebel groups in mIndanao di na lang maute group o asg doon sa siansabi nila na target lang ang maute sasaklawin nito ay lahat na ang pinangambahan natin this will put into jeopardy ang ongoing peace negotiations”

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said, “Many of those divulged were already of public knowledge and in no way secret or confidential. Some questions made were vaguely answered or not clear as to allay fears on martial law. The executive seems to have no coherence as to a holistic assessment of what necessitated the declaration of ML. Nor was there a clear plan of how the situation in Mindanao will be resolved. Everything seems to be at the sole discretion of the President. Even if the House approves a resolution affirming PP 216, the fact that it was not done in joint session renders it an unconstitutional act. Congress failed to exercise its shared powers with the President in any ML declaration with such move. The order of the day seems to be #martiallaweverywhere”

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said, “ito mga programa natin sa mindanao kailangan matuloy natin ang peace process, with CPP NPA NDF MILF MNLF paano natin matutuloy ang peace rocess kung magulo ng ISIS wilayat marami na prublema sa mindanao wag na natin hayaang madagdagan pa…ngayon meron tayong presidente kilang kila ang prublema pagbigyan natin siya”

Esperon added, ang sinabi ko sa senado  di dapat tayo magconcentrate lang sa military and police oeprations dahil mas malawak ang prublema ng mindanao.dapat mabigyan natin ng solusyona ng prublema sa midnanao mas mabuti kung makuha natin yung kapangyarihan na bibigay ng martial law na kokonti lang din naman.”

Alejano also affirmed his claim that Duterte unilaterally declared martial law. “it was affirmed again that there was no recommendation he declared martial law without the recommendation.  even the SND”

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said, “Sec. Delfin Lorenzana of the Department of National Defense reiterated in his briefing to the House of Representatives that he did not recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the declaration of martial law in Mindanao under Proclamation No. 216.Lorenzana added that there was no prior consultation by the president with his official entourage in Russia before his imposition of martial law.

Esperon responded it was he who recommended martial law to the President a long time ago. “rankly i recommended martial law but not when we were already in moscow because narecommend na namin ang martial alw as one of the options of the president. noon pa bago pa kami sa administration lalo na nung binomba ang davao the president objected to it because he wanted to exhaust all legal means”

 Lagman notes that   The resource persons from the Executive Department and the military and police authorities have not established a credible factual basis for the declaration of martial law.

Lagman explained that The military establishment also admitted that what precipitated the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi was the military operation to neutralize or capture Isnilon Hapilon, a high profile terrorist leader. “Lt Gen Salvador Mison Jr., Vice Chief of Staff of the AFP, also admitted that the eruption of the armed confrontation in Marawi was government initiated.

 Except for common crimes, no charges of rebellion have been filed against the suspected culprits in the previous terrorist violence committed in Mindanao and elsewhere according to the military establishment representatives in the presence of Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II.”

ACT Teachers Party List rep. Antonio Tinio for his part deplored how the session was carried out. “nakita niyo naman huling bahagi,. meron kaagad pagkatapos ng pagtatanong sa resource persons meron na kaagad na motion para aprubahan ang resolution para aprubahan ang deklarasyon ng martial law. di na ako binigyan ng pagkakataon at inaprubahan na ito agad ng kumite going through the motions lang ang nangyari kahit debate di pinahintulutan pati ba sa house martial alw na rin talagang di kami masaya sa kinalabasan ng committee of the whole”

Esperon for his part expecetd government to be in full control of Marawi City in 3 weeks at the most. “itong isis na ito kaya nating solusyunan ito yung physical  na kaguluhan na nangyayari probably in 1-2 weeks nakasettle na yan 3 bridges na lang yung inovercome para makapunta doon sa heart of the city yun ang gustong tawirin ng ating mga tropa pag natapos yun ina  day’s time masesettle agad yung prublema ng peace and order sa marawi”

Esperon also held out the possibility of expanding the coverage of martial law. “kung 60 days lang ang  limitasyon sa congress  yun muna kunin natinkung kailangan ng karagdagang araw tanungin natin ang kongreso kung magbibigay pa sila”