Lift martial law declaration – Karapatan
publicinfo: May 25 10:40AM +0800

Press Statement
25 May 2017
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, +63918-9790580
Lift martial law declaration – Karapatan
“We are a nation that has gone through the monstrosities of martial law. Repeating it again, with no less than another butcher, AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Ano, as administrator, will inevitably worsen rights abuses. The people in Mindanao have been through various forms of repression, instigated by counterinsurgency programs and the recent all-out-war declaration. With martial law in tow, an open fascist rule coupled with
impunity will set the stage ripe for open State terrorism,” said Palabay.
On the eve of May 23, 2017, Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law following firefight between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the so-called Maute group, group allegedly supporting Islamic State (IS) militants. 1st Infantry Division spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said in an interview that the AFP-PNP initiated the operation in Marawi, contrary to earlier reports. The following day, on May 24, Duterte floated the possibility of the entire country being put under martial law.
The president, in a statement, said that the martial law declaration was done to preserve the country and its citizens. He also said that Marcos’ martial law is “very good. “Learning from experience however, martial law has done the opposite, aggravating rights violations instead of ensuring the safety and protection of citizens. More so with warmongers holding significant influence in Duterte’s decisions. In a time where civilian supremacy and civilian processes are thrown to the sides, so too are our rights,” said Palabay.
The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, as announced by Duterte, will open the floodgates for illegal arrests, torture and detention of civilians, as what happened when the past regimes implemented the said measure.
As Palabay underscored the dangers of military rule, she also took a swipe at VP Leni Robredo for recent statements to ‘trust the AFP’. She added: “If anything, we should be vigilant and cautious against military operations. Gone were the days where the AFP can earn our trust, after their role as main violators during and after Marcos’ martial law declaration. We remind Robredo that the atrocities of martial law were not just on Marcos’ hands, but on several more military generals and high-ranking officers. We would do well to never forget that.”
Karapatan strongly urged Duterte “to immediately lift martial law in Mindanao, and to stop loaded caveats regarding putting the entire country under martial law.”
“There are inviolable rights that cannot be foregone, regardless of place, time or context. But despite such safeguards, martial law is a pandora’s box that will give way to systematic rights violations. Just like in the
time of Marcos, these violations will be justified under the blanket of “security”, “protection”, and “national interest”,” cautioned Palabay.
Palabay also drew attention to the covert war-making strategies of the US to justify their intervention in several countries. “We should all be wary of such methods, done in collusion with US surrogates bearing the face of top PH military officials. Suara Bangsamoro has earlier reported of Maute group ties with the military. We should further investigate the US and the military’s role in the Marawi incident lest it becomes another excuse to deploy foreign troops and further undermine our sovereignty,” she said.
Given the current situation, Karapatan also stated that its regional offices in Mindanao will remain open as all member organizations, chapters, and allies collectively stand their ground in defense of people’s rights,
despite imminent danger and threats. Karapatan has also called for donations for the people of Marawi City, especially the displaced, and has encouraged lawyers to volunteer in light of recent events. Karapatan
chapters in Southern Mindanao and Socsksargen have conducted mass actions against martial law, defying the no-permit, no-rally policy imposed by local governments.
“We stand with the people in Marawi and the whole of Mindanao. It should be reiterated that martial law is not the solution, along with other militarist approaches. We remain steadfast in the rooting out the causes of unrest and calling for a just and lasting peace. Should the Duterte administration continue down this path, he and the warmongers under him will be held accountable,” ended Palabay.

Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146

KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.