VICE President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo expressed opposition against the extension of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao and called for an investigation on alleged human rights abuses committed during their enforcement over the last 60 days.
Robredo made the call on Sunday, a day after Congress resoundingly approved President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to keep martial law in the south until December 31, 2017 to suppress the rebellion allegedly led by the combined forces of the Maute group, Abu Sayyaf, Ansarul Khilafah Philippines and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Robredo cited the tearful appeal of aid worker Samira Gutoc of the Ranao Rescue Team who testified in the joint session of Congress on Saturday on the abuses suffered by the displaced Muslims during the 60-day period of martial law in Marawi City.
“There are allegations that there are human rights abuses. The government should look on this to prevent it from getting worse. The evacuees are calling on us to hear their plight, on what is important to them. That is [a]crucial message because we need to listen to those affected [by the martial law and the attacks by the Maute rebels],” Robredo said in her weekly radio program.
“It is only right that a woman from Marawi, who is an aid worker helping our evacuees, get to testify on what is happening on the ground. Her message is important, and I got the same message in the few times that I visited the evacuees,” Robredo added.
The Vice President visited Lanao del Sur twice.