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Senators back martial law

The Senate majority bloc led by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III expressed yesterday their support for the controversial martial declaration in Mindanao by President Duterte.

This followed their filing of Senate Resolution 388 ‘’expressing the sense of the Senate supporting Proclamation No, 216 dated May 23, 2017 entitled ‘ declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao’ and finding no cause to revoke the same.’’

Aside from Pimentel, the other signatories were Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto, Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III and Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor ‘’JV’’ Ejercito, Richard J. Gordon, Gregorio B. Honasan II, Panfilo M. Lacson, Loren Legarda, Emmanuel Pacquiao Joel Villanueva, Cynthia A. Villar and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Sen. Francis Escudero, a member of the majority bloc, was not a signatory.

Escudero, in a TV interview yesterday, described the Dutere martial law declaration as a ‘’psywar’’ because appropriate provisions of the Constitution are honored.

The President submitted last May 25 to the Senate its report on the factual basis for the proclamation of martial law in Mindanao to last for 60 days.

Part of the reason for the martial law declaration was ‘’a series of violent acts committed by the Maute terrorist group such as the attack on the military outpost in Butig, Lanao del Sur which resulted in the killing and wounding of several soldiers and the mass jailbreak in Marawi city in August 2016 which freed the arrested comrades of the terrorist group and other detainees.’’

The proclamation stated that on May 23, 2017, the same Maute terrorist group has taken over a hospital in Marawi city (Lanao del Sur) and established several checkpoints within the city and also burned down certain government and private facilities and inflicted casualties on the part of the government forces.

The Maute group also flew the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Maute group’s acts are an open attempt to remove from the allegiance to the Philippine government and this constituted the crime of rebellion, the declaration stated.

Because of these, the senators expressed the sense of the Senate and found the issuance of the martial law declaration ‘’to be satisfactory, constitutional and in accordance with the law.’’ (MARIO B. CASAYURAN)