by Raymund Antonio
In the fight against terrorism, Vice President Leni Robredo is one with President Duterte in his decision to declare martial law in Mindanao. But she is pressing for answers about the concrete measures to safeguard against abuses, along with specific parameters on its implementation.
Robredo, interim chair of the opposition Liberal Party, raised questions on “what specific actions to be taken to require the extraordinary powers” under the martial law.
“The report submitted to Congress states that martial law shall be in effect ‘until such time that the rebellion is completely quelled.’ How does the administration define ‘completely quelled?’” she asked.
The Office of the Vice President released a statement on Friday night, with Robredo seeking for measures that will ensure the implementation of martial law won’t lead to abuses and violations similar to what happened during the Marcos dictatorship.
Robredo acknowledged it is constitutionally vested in the President to declare martial law, but she noted the concerns of the public on the basis of the declaration as well as its defined parameters.
She asked what does the administration like to see before withdrawing the imposition of martial law as well as re-establishing the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
“Martial law grants the administration extraordinary powers and it is in everyone’s interest to swiftly return to our normal democratic order,” the former housing chief stressed.
Robredo, who has been vocal about her anti-martial law stance, asked for a “reason to expect the expansion of the coverage of martial law and its prolongation.”
She cited the recent incidents in Bohol and other parts of the country, where local terrorists were immediately neutralized by authorities even without declaring martial law.
“The military itself made a statement that while these local terrorist groups have the capacity to carry out attacks, they are limited,” said Robredo.
The Vice President urged members of Congress to perform their “constitutional duty of reviewing and deciding on the validity of the declaration” as she repeated her call to Filipinos to be vigilant.
She also reiterated her support to the military and police in their fight against terrorism.
“We must all unite against terrorism and we must cooperate with our security forces to find the best ways and means within the framework of our Constitution and laws,” Robredo said.