SENATOR Vicente Sotto 3rd deplored the alleged “fake news” aired by a television network in Australia, which reported that martial law in the Philippines sought to “jail the opposition”.
“I was watching ABC News here. Their news about the Philippines is quite bad. Their mainstream media is the source of fake news and not Facebook,” Sotto said in a radio interview from Australia.
“I was surprised by their report yesterday at 5:39 in the afternoon. An Indian-looking journalist reported that martial law was declared in the Philippines to jail the political opposition,” said Sotto in Brisbane to watch the bout between Filipino boxing hero, Sen. Manny Pacquiao, and Austalian boxer Jeff Horne on Saturday, local time.
A reported plan by the Islamic State-linked Maute group to establish an independent state in Mindanao prompted Duterte to declare martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus on March 23, which would be in effect for 60 days.
Staunch critics of the President accused him of using martial law to entrench himself in power, which he denied although he admitted that he would be harsh in enforcing it.
A failed attempt by the military to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon in Marawi City prompted the bandit’s supporters, known as the Maute group, to stage a series of attacks in the city that escalated into a full blown war between the Islamist extremists and the military and police forces.
To date, close to 500 people in Marawi have been killed, thousands displaced and sheltered in evacuation centers. BADETTE TAMAYO