Press Release
July 23, 2017

Sen. Leila M. de Lima on Congress' approval of the 150-day martial law extension
Dispatch from Crame No. 119

7 / 23 / 2017

The Duterte regime has once again made a fool out of the Filipino people as it succeeded in its twisted plan to extend martial law in Mindanao, which includes the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus, until December 31. What makes this worse is that majority of Congress, with a vote of 261-18, allowed itself to be a pawn of the President in his authoritarian project.

I'm not surprised at all with this outcome. Even some Muslim lawmakers from the region who are closely related to local politicians recently stripped of police powers were part of the majority vote. It seems they were compelled to support the President's edict for the sake of political survival and personal self-preservation.

This martial law extension is equivalent to belittling the capabilities of the AFP which has repeatedly assured the public that the military can impose law and order even without martial law. Why would it take another six months to neutralize the remaining Maute terrorists, when almost all of them have already been eliminated in the past 60 days since they attacked Marawi on May 23?

Instead of extending martial law beyond what is necessary under the Constitution, Duterte should focus on addressing the dire situation of the affected families in conflict-ridden areas.

Marami na pong namamatay na kapwa natin Pilipino, hindi lamang sa bakbakan, kundi maging sa evacuation centers. At sigurado po ako na merong mga nagaganap na mga human rights violations, sa magkabilang panig, sa gitna ng mga kaguluhan.

Unti-unti nang nilalason ang ating demokrasya dahil sa kapritso ng Pangulo na nagsabing nais lang naman niyang wasakin at durugin ang gobyerno, at ilang beses na tayong niloko sa pabago-bagong pahayag ukol sa martial law na lalo pang nag-udyok ng kaguluhan sa bansa. Tila yata na anarkismo ang gustong maghari ni Duterte sa ating bansa.

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