By Antonio L. Colina IV
Davao City — An independent civilian monitoring group here has said that there is no longer any need for the continued imposition of martial law in Mindanao nearly four months after President Rodrigo R. Duterte placed the entire island under military rule because of the armed intrusion of the Maute Group in Marawi City last May 23.
Ateneo de Davao Law School Dean Manuel Quibod, who was also speaking for the Ateneo Legal Aid Services (ALAS), said in a press conference Monday that, with the armed conflict in Marawi waning, the President needs only to use his “calling out powers” to deal with the remaining Maute Group terrorists.
The Constitution gives the President authority to “suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion” under these powers.
Quibod also belongs to a group of lawyers and civil society groups which calls itself Alisto!.
He said the group also appealed to “our Dabawenyo President Duterte, not to extend or expand martial law to cover the entire country.”
Quibod said that the declaration of martial law has also “impinged on civilian mobility and privacy, and led to the curtailment of other rights.”
He said Alisto! was also concerned about the possibility of more “infractions of human rights processes, procedures, and the outright abuse of these rights.”
Quibod likewise called on the President to lift Proclamation 216 “sooner than it is expected.”
He said that the Alisto!, which is composed of 19 groups, has set up a hotline to receive reports of violations and abuses in the city.
“We have a helpdesk which will answer these calls. The processing will be done because of validation will be made and the documentation. This will be brought to the legal team to make an assessment as well as to those in the ground to validate. Once validated, and there is basis for filing of cases, then we will file cases, that will be on,” he said.