December 13, 2017
Congressional concurrence to the 1-year extension of Martial Law is all but a certainty today. Despite the utter lack of legal and factual basis, the Duterte regime has pushed for the extension even if the conflict in Marawi has been deemed finished. The original basis Duterte cited for declaring Martial Law no longer exists, hence there is no basis to extend Martial Law for the entire island of Mindanao.
The Duterte regime and the AFP are abusing the Martial Law provisions of the Constitution wp invoking just about every imaginable issue to justify its extension. They have cited the Marawi reconstruction, possible ISIS recruitment, criminality and even economic development as factors for the extension. In his letter to Congress, Duterte has extensively cited the continuing attacks of the NPA as another factor for extending Martial Law. However, none of these are basis for declaring and extending Martial Law under the Constitution.
Martial Law extension and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus are instruments of state terror against the people and revolutionary movements in Mindanao. These provide the legal cover for widespread human rights violations, militarization of the countryside, illegal arrests, trumped-up charges and other abuses. Martial Law is an instrument of fascism aimed at silencing critics of the Duterte regime.
It is also important to note that the extension of Martial Law has the support of the US government as it continues to use the “war on terror” as pretext for expanding US military presence in Mindanao.
That a one-year extension is being justified on flimsy and patently unconstitutional grounds opens up the possiblity for Martial Law’s expansion nationwide and wholesale political repression. There is no such thing as benevolent Martial Law under a fascist regime.
In the coming months, we call on the Filipino people here and abroad to stand with the people of Mindanao as they resist the imposition of Martial rule. We call on the people to intensify resistance to the fascist US-backed Duterte regime and oppose nationwide martial rule and dictatorship. ###