Bad habits die hard


Opposition lawmakers have acquired this habit of opposing almost anything and everything for the sake of opposing, and in the recent instance, they have come up to oppose the planned extension of the implementation of martial law (ML), claiming it is unconstitutional because there are no grounds for extending it.

These lawmakers certainly know that the unconstitutionality of any act, including some of their bills that have been enacted into law and that have remained unquestioned before the High Court, has to be challenged before the Supreme Court.

There is, however, nothing in the Constitution that says extending ML, even after a one-year extension, is illegal as long as Congress approves it. The Charter says the President can declare ML for 60 days and, if extended, must ask Congress’ approval for the extension, which both the House and the Senate gave in December last year, giving President Duterte a year’s extension.

Liberal Party Sen. Franklin Drilon insisted the Constitution is clear. “Martial Law may be declared only in cases of actual rebellion when public safety requires it. I may sound like a broken record, but for the nth time, I would repeat, there is no actual rebellion. Rebellion no longer persists in Mindanao,” he said.

Really? How does he know, by way of intelligence that the President and his top armed forces intelligence network know?

The political opposition creates the fear factor in an extension of ML which is clearly a political move.

Drilon said the extension of military rule in the southern Philippines continues to be in violation of the 1987 Constitution.

The military’s statement that continuing threat is “lurking” in Mindanao shows that there is no actual rebellion happening, he stated.

“There may be threats of rebellion, but what the Constitution clearly requires as a ground for declaring and extending martial law is the presence of actual rebellion,” the lawmaker said.

But rebellion, in this day and age of radical Islamic terrorism, no longer can be regarded as the days of “actual rebellion,” especially since the terrorists are foreign fighters and foreign recruiters and the time element to stop the terrorism cannot also be measured by a 12-month period.

But what makes Drilon believe that rebellion by terrorists is over and done with, as there has to be actual rebellion? Does he then believe that the administration can only act against the terrorists when actual rebellion is ongoing?

What then do he and the usual yellows and allies expect this regime and any other regime to do: let the terrorists continue recruiting to take over Mindanao while the government does nothing to nip this in the bud?

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, also an oppositionist, wants the military and police forces to match their request for ML extension “with hard and justifiable facts.”

Said he: “For instance, they should answer the question: how big and wide is the threat in the region that necessitates it to be placed under such declaration?”

He added the extension of military rule in the entire island shows the failure of the declaration in Mindanao since he stressed the military might never solve the people’s woes that are deeply rooted in poverty, lack of jobs and absence of basic services.

Pangilinan and Drilon should be reminded of the fact that terrorism in this country, especially in Mindanao, became a much bigger and already was a real threat during the yellow regime under then President Noynoy Aquino. Despite his awareness of the foreign terrorists in the country, who were into recruiting and training local Muslim terrorists, he did nothing but nothing in clipping the rebellion.

Pangilinan seems to believe that imposing ML does not solve the problems of Mindanao.

It should be asked of both senators if they can honestly state that during their time in power and position under their yellow President whether the yellow regime tried solving the people’s woes that are deeply rooted in poverty, lack of jobs and absence of basic services which he claims the Duterte regime has not succeeded in doing.

He and other yellows can’t mainly because they know Aquino did nothing but nothing at all to alleviate the poverty existing in Mindanao during his time.

What should be noted importantly is that Duterte’s style of ML was not abusive and all freedoms under the Constitution were honored. Only the terrorists and their kin in Marawi during the rebellion were arrested as they tried moving out of the area. Even then, they were given due process. They were charged in court.

All the opposition does is to make it harder for Duterte to succeed in ridding the country of terrorists.

They really should give up as the political opposition, led by the yellows, can’t even get their candidates to win in the 2019 polls.

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