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Martial Law in Sulu, Basilan proposed

Magdalo party list Rep. Gary Alejano, one of the brains behind a failed mutiny against the Arroyo administration, yesterday proposed placing Sulu and Basilan, known as strongholds of the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group, under Martial Law following the bloody Davao City bombing.

This developed as Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, Alejano’s colleague in the House independent opposition bloc, slammed President Duterte’s declaration of state of lawlessness as “legally unnecessary,” saying that such condition of the country is a better fit not for the bloody Davao City terrorist attack but the unabated “extrajudicial killings perpetrated by police authorities and their civilian cohorts.”

“State violence begets violence by non-state actors,” Lagman stated.

Alejano, together with House Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza, disagreed with Lagman’s statement as he urged Duterte to put his declaration to a higher level – imposing martial law in ASG territories.

Interviewed over radio DZBB, Alejano explained that despite the military’s efforts to dismantle the ASG, the terror group remained active in sowing criminality and violence in huge parts of Mindanao.

He noted that kidnapping-for-ransom has become a “lucrative business” that now involved communities and families in Basilan and Sulu as beneficiaries of ransom paid by the victims.

“We might as well declare Martial Law in these areas,” stated Alejano.

A former Navy officer, Alejano said putting the ASG areas under Martial law could put an end to the banditry and once and for all dismantle the armed Moro group.

Alejano also agreed that the Constitution allows Duterte to call the military to suppress lawless violence but the declaration of lawlessness should be applied only in Mindanao where the terrorist attack was launched.
(Ben R. Rosario)