Drilon: ‘It’s time to end martial law’

MANILA – Instead of extending it, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that it is time to lift martial law in Mindanao.

“We cannot tolerate an ‘unli’ martial law. The continued placing of Mindanao under martial law would set a dangerous precedent, not to mention its economic and social implications,” Drilon said.

On Tuesday, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. said he would recommend the extension of martial law in Mindanao for another one year. Mindanao has been under martial law since 2017.

Drilon said it has been “too long” since martial was declared in Mindanao, affecting the everyday lives of Mindanaoans.

“Is martial law now the new norm in Mindanao?” Drilon asked.

“We are calling on the government’s security cluster to study the situation in Mindanao and consider the dangerous mindset that the continued declaration of martial law in Mindanao may give rise to,” Drilon said.

“There is no perpetual martial law. There must be an end to this. As I said before, martial law is like an antibiotic, and antibiotic, when used excessively, becomes ineffective,” Drilon said.

The minority leader explained that the framers of the Constitution understood the danger of a prolonged martial law, hence the 60—day limit and a regular review by Congress are clearly provided in the Constitution.

Section 18 of Article VII of the 1987 Constitution allows the President to place any part of the country under martial law for a period not exceeding sixty (60) days.

The same section provides that “upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.”

Drilon said that there is nothing that shows actual rebellion and armed uprising in the region to justify the extension, which is required by the Constitution.

He noted that even Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said she was considering asking that her city be exempted from the declaration of martial law. (Photo Courtesy of Franklin Drilon Facebook page)