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Palace allays fears of Martial Law abuses

by Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Malacañang yesterday welcomed the statement of the Commission on Human Rights that there has been no incident of human rights abuses reported since President Duterte placed Mindanao under Martial Law last month.

“We welcome the remarks of the Commission on Human Rights that there have been no reports of human rights abuses and or violations committed by authorities after the President placed the whole island of Mindanao under Martial Law,” presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Abella said this development should put to rest the fears and anxiety of some quarters over Martial Law.

“As we said in previous occasions, public safety is foremost in the President’s mind in light of the continuing rebellion in Marawi and Martial Law is a necessary response to address the prevailing reign of terror and its potential spillover to the rest of Mindanao,” Abella added.

The Palace official reiterated that the President will respect the decision of the Supreme Court on his declaration of Martial Law.

“The President’s media interview yesterday (Saturday) after visiting the troops in Butuan underscores that he adheres to the rule of law and judicial independence,” Abella said.

“President Duterte made it clear that if the Supreme Court decides against the declaration of Martial Law, he would pull out the military in Marawi City on the ground that the High Court does not believe there is a rebellion,” he added.

He noted that the Chief Executive likewise made it clear that if and when there is another similar incident of rebellion, when the public safety requires it, the President being the Commander-in-Chief “would again declare Martial Law and police power given to the executive by no less than our Constitution.”

Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao almost a month ago due to the terrorist attacks in Marawi City has sparked fears of human rights violations reported during the Martial Law of President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

The Chief Executive has compared his Martial Law to that of Marcos, saying his has no reports of human rights abuses.

“Hindi ako nagbibiro. Hindi na kagaya noong Martial Law na, I do not want to compare it. But, dito wala kaming abuso,” Duterte said.

Malacañang has said the government will not set a timeline on when Martial Law will be lifted as the safety of the people is at stake. “As far as the Palace is concerned, the Executive branch wishes for all of this to end as soon as possible,” Abella said.

“However po, ang bottomline pa rin po ng Martial Law is public safety. Public safety as mandated by the Constitution,” he added.