AFTER the Senate went into an executive session to hear a confidential briefing on Proclamation 216 declaring martial law in Mindanao, the opposition senators, led by Senator Antonio Trillanes, broke protocol, and committed a major breach of confidentiality, by disclosing to the public the admission by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that martial law was not needed to address the problem in Marawi.
However, the opposition senators disclosed only that part of Lorenzana’s testimony that would be beneficial to their agenda, but did not disclose the part where the defense secretary affirmed the need for martial law to solve the problem of the entire island of Mindanao. Considering that martial law was declared for all of Mindanao, and not only for Marawi, the selective and highly unethical disclosure by the opposition senators reeked of malice and was deliberately misleading.
These senators questioned the factual basis of Proclamation 216, and raised the specter of a Marcosian type of martial law. They painted the President as trying to solve a minor political problem with a draconian sledgehammer.
As it turned out, the revelation made by the Associated Press, showing a video of terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon, together with the Maute brothers, plotting to seize Marawi City, occupy major highways, bomb strategic areas, and attack schools and hold students hostage, was in fact shown to the Senate during the executive session. Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed this, and admitted that it was this video that convinced him to support the martial law proclamation.
The video is damning evidence of a rebellion. After all, the intent of the terrorists was to occupy a territory of the republic and remove it from the control of the government. With well-documented intelligence reports confirming that Isnilon Hapilon was the anointed emir tasked to turn Lanao into a wilayat, or a province of the Daesh or the Islamic State, what was also established was the onset of an invasion by a foreign terrorist force implanting itself in our territory.
The conditions to declare martial law were therefore all there.
And yet Senators Trillanes, Hontiveros, Aquino, Drilon and Pangilinan who attended the briefing chose to selectively highlight the admission of Secretary Lorenzana, and made it the cornerstone of their public disclosures. Instead of focusing on the danger that lurked in Marawi, the opposition senators chose partisan politics.
Senator Hontiveros, using a ridiculous definition, even insisted that what was happening in Marawi was not a rebellion.
Their allies in the House of Representatives echoed this line of argument, when seven of them filed a case at the Supreme Court challenging the sufficiency of the factual basis for the martial law proclamation.
They argued that only the threat of and not an actual rebellion was present, and hence declaring martial law was overkill.
What is enraging in the petition filed by Representatives Lagman, Baguilat, Erice, Alejano, Daza, Billones and Villarin is their audacity in claiming that the carnage in Marawi was more of a defensive move by the Maute terrorists triggered by the attempt to arrest Hapilon, thereby making it sound as if it was even the fault of the state.
Anent to this is the argument that the flying of the flags of the Daesh by the Maute terrorists should not be seen as invasion, but as simply a symbolism associated with propaganda.
One has to wonder where the loyalty of the political opposition is.
Confronted with evidence of a plan to seize Marawi and turn it into an extension of the Daesh, the political opposition chose to misrepresent Secretary Lorenzana.
Informed of the seriousness of the threat, Hontiveros opted to mangle the definition of rebellion.
Faced with the horrors of terrorism in the present, the political opposition chose to privilege the specters of resurrected and imagined horrors of a martial law from the past.
Instead of expressing support for our troops battling the terrorist forces, they even blame them for creating the condition for the carnage.
Instead of looking at the flag of the IS as a horrifying specter that represents beheadings, they saw it simply as a propaganda symbol, even as they continue to wallow in the symbolisms of the Marcosian martial law.
While fighting is ongoing in Marawi, Senators Trillanes and Representative Alejano travelled to The Hague in the Netherlands to file a supplementary manifestation in pursuit of their case against the President at the International Criminal Court. They added as a key argument against the President his proclamation of martial law in response to the Marawi attacks.
Unaware of the inconsistency, cheering them is the same crowd who went into a frenzy of hashtag activism to express sympathy with France which declared a state of emergency, its own version of martial law, in 2015 in response to the Paris attacks.
Meanwhile, 300 lawyers are forcing the Supreme Court to collide with Congress in a petition asking the former to order the latter to perform an act which is not required both in the plain text of the Constitution as well as in the intention of its framers.
Members of the political opposition hate this President so much that they unwittingly end up serving the interests of terror.
One has to ask who the real enemies of the republic are.