Press Release
May 24, 2017


Senator Chiz Escudero expressed deep concern about the declaration of Martial Law in the whole of Mindanao following clashes between government troops and the local Maute terrorist group yesterday, and asked people to remain vigilant against possible threats to peace and order in their communities.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law at 10 pm last night while he was in a state visit in Russia. The declaration covers the whole island of Mindanao and will last for 60 days.

Escudero, a lawyer himself, said under the Constitution, the President can declare the country or parts of it under martial law in case of "invasion or rebellion when public safety requires it" for more than 60 days.

The senator added that within 48 hours, the President must submit a report to Congress, which, by voting jointly, may revoke or extend the declaration by a vote of at least a majority of its members.

According to Escudero, he is awaiting the report detailing the basis for the declaration of martial law.

"While I am deeply concerned with such a declaration, I am also deeply disturbed by what is happening in Marawi. We must condemn any terroristic acts at all times. I will therefore await such a report and will vote accordingly as a member of Congress with only the best interests of our country and people in mind," said the veteran lawmaker, former chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human rights.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a press conference in Moscow that details of the martial law will be "forthcoming."

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the declaration "entails the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, imposition of curfews and setting up of checkpoints."

"The defense secretary may have been mistaken about the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus because it is not automatic by expressed provision of the Constitution and should also be specifically declared by the President," Escudero pointed out.

He urged the people to remain vigilant amid the declaration of martial law to help ease security concerns brought about by the presence of lawless elements in their areas.

"We all hope that the situation will remain well under the control of the government with the utmost priority on the safety of our people," Escudero said.

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