By Hannah Torregoza
Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Sunday deplored President Duterte’s move to extend martial law in Mindanao, saying it has become a bad habit of the Chief Executive.
De Lima, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration and who is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) custodial center over drug charges, said she found no sufficient basis to justify the extension of martial law in Mindanao until 2019 but only to terrorize the public into fear and submission.
“Asking for an extension of martial law seems to be another habit that Duterte has formed, apart from his other habits of failing to solve inflation, kowtowing to foreign powers, covering up drug smuggling and evading responsibility for ordering the slaughter of the poor,” de Lima said in a statement.
Congress, in a joint session last December 12, voted 235-28-1 and granted Duterte’s request to extend anew the declaration of martial law in Mindanao from December 31, 2018 to one more year.
This places the entire Mindanao under the military rule for a total of over two and a half years, or from May 23, 2017 to December 31, 2019. Duterte first declared martial law in the province following the siege of Marawi City by ISIS-inspired Maute group.
The senator said Duterte should resign because his habit of extending martial law is proof of his inability to resolve pressing problems the country is facing.
“After three installments and more than one and a half of martial law, there is still one pressing question that remains unanswered: What martial law powers has the AFP been using all this time, and what martial law powers do they intend to use moving forward?” she pointed out.
“Without an answer to that question, there is no way that the AFP, much less Duterte himself or Congress or the Supreme Court, can claim that there is sufficient basis to extend Martial Law,” she said.
The former justice secretary maintained it is high time for Duterte “to surrender the post so that a better person can do the job right. Because by his own admission, he has failed.”