DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 22 July) — Martial law Duterte style is an “unconventional way of developing the whole of Mindanao,” former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., said.
In a statement sent to MindaNews Saturday night, the elder Pimentel, father of the incumbent Senate President and a victim of human rights violation under Marcos’ martial law said it might be premature to say at this stage that President Rodrigo Duterte, whom he described as a “uniquely thinking leader,” and the legislators are wrong.
Congress in joint session on Saturday voted 261-18 to grant the request of Duterte to extend martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus until 31 December 2017.
“Looks like the people through their elected representatives have just expressed their desire to uphold an unconventional way of developing the whole of Mindanao via the ML (martial law) process initiated by a uniquely thinking leader of the nation,” Pimentel said.
“To speculate that abuses might taint the good intentions of the administration seem distant considering that unlike the Marcos martial law, the imposition of martial law in this period of our history is circumscribed by a number of safeguards,” he said, citing at least six: by Congress itself, as defined in the Constitution; by the military and the law enforcers themselves, exercising restraint as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Eduardo Ano public vowed before the people.
Lorenzana is the martial law adminsitrator while Ano is hte martial law implementor.
A third safeguard is by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, “who, speaking for the President, vowed strict government supervision on the implementation of martial law to ensure that the rights and liberties of the people remain secure.”
The other safeguards are by the Supreme Court’s coming in through appropriate cases file before it; by the media “that remains free and unfettered;” and by the “people’s vigilance in the assertion and protection of their rights and liberties.”
Pimentel acknowledged that “man-made remedies against the ills of society are always susceptible to error and abuse” but expressed belief that “adequate remedies are available to us when the times call for their application.”
Until then, Pimentel concluded, “good faith and good will may be assumed to have been President Duterte’s motivating factors for the imposition of martial law in Mindanao and its extension as mandated by Congress.”
“God bless our country and people,” he said.
Transforming Mindanao into “Land of Fulfillment”
While Pimentel spoke of “developing the whole of Mindanao,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella talked of transforming Mindanao into a land of fulfillment” as he welcomed the congressional vote.
“The nation has chosen to stand united in defending the Republic,” Abella said, adding the extension of martial law is “essential to the overall peace and stability.”
He said the rebellion in Marawi continues to persist and “we want to stop the spread of the evil ideology of terrorism and free the people of Mindanao from the tyranny of lawlessness and violent extremism.”
With the debate over the extension done with, Abella urged the public to help in nation-building and contribute to the attainment of the “full promise of Mindanao.”
“There is much work to be done to bring back public safety and law and order in the whole island of Mindanao. There is much work to be done in the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi. Together, let us transform Mindanao into a land of fulfillment,” Abella said. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)