Prolonged martial law bad for PH – Roque

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An extended martial law in Mindanao will be bad for the country because it places military rule above civilians and scares away tourists and investors, a congressional leader said on Monday.

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Rep. Harry Roque of Kabayan party-list, who also serves as House deputy minority leader, made the warning less than two weeks before President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law expires on July 22.

“The President is yet to ask for an extension [before Congress]…but while I was supportive of the initial declaration, I hope that if an extension is made, it will be just for the shortest time possible because declaring martial law is never good for the country. By extending it, it will be a continuing admission before the international community that we are yet to contain rebellion, invasion,” Roque said.

President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 to suppress the terrorist attack on Marawi City, Lanao del Sur by the Maute group.

“The [extension of martial law for the]shortest possible time, the better. Under martial law, the military rule is supreme. When the military is supreme and not the civilian authority, it means people without the [people’s] mandate are in charge,” Roque, a former UP College of Law professor, argued.

The Constitution provides the President can declare martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in cases of rebellion, invasion or when public safety requires it. The Constitution mandates Congress to review the President’s martial law declaration, which is limited to 60 days.

Llanesca T. Panti

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