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Alvarez hits back at martial law critics: ‘Mag-presidente muna sila’

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House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday hit back at critics of President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
In a television interview, Alvarez reiterated that it is within Duterte’s mandate to make such proclamation, and that the President is privy to information on what is really happening on the group.
“Well, alam n’yo po, mag-presidente muna sila,” the Speaker said when asked to respond to critics.
© Albert Alcain/PPD President Rodrigo Duterte and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez discuss matters during the birthday celebration of PNP Dir. Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa at Camp Crame on Sunday, January 22, 2017. Alvarez has recently called for…
“‘Yun po ang kapangyarihan na ibinigay ng ating Saligang Batas sa Pangulo ng Pilipinas, ‘ung pagdedesisyon kung kinakailangan ba na magdeklara ng martia law o hindi, at makapag-address ng rebelyon sa ating bansa. At ito po ay malinaw sa ating Saligang Batas na ang ating Pangulo ay may kapangyarihan na magdeklara ng rebelyon either sa buong bansa o kaya doon sa mga lugar na apektado po ng rebelyon,” he added.
Duterte’s official declaration—dated May 23, Tuesday, and “done in the Russian Federation”—places “the whole of Mindanao” under martial law for a period “not exceeding sixty days.” He also suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus there for the said period.
The President had tagged the group for “crime of rebellion” for acts they perpetrated in Marawi City this week, including a “takeover” of a hospital, burning “certain government and private facilities,” and “flying the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in several areas” there.
“[T]his recent attack shows the capability of the Maute group and other rebel groups to sow terror, and cause death and damage to property not only in Lanao del Sur but also in other parts of Mindanao,” the proclamation read.
Concerns have been raised over details of the proclamation, including its duration, as well as why it needed to cover the whole region.
The Speaker, who represents the first district of Davao del Norte, said those who question the proclamation better go to Marawi City to know the real situation.
“Mabuti po siguro kung ‘yung mga nagkokomento po, pumunta mismo sa Marawi, at tingnan po ‘yung sitwasyon. Taga-Mindanao po ako ma’am, at kabisado ko po yung terrain doon. Tama po yung ginawa ng ating Pangulo,” he said.
“Para po magsalita tayo na siguro puwede na ‘yung emergency powers, puwede na po ‘yung ano… nandito po tayo sa Manila, napakalayo po natin para magsalita tayo nang ganoon. So ipaubaya po natin sa ating military ‘yan at mas alam nila kung ano ang nangyayari, at mas alam nila kung paano po i-a-address yung problema na ito,” he added.
The Speaker also noted that there are safeguards in place under the Constitution, saying the martial law in place in Mindanao will not be the same as the one imposed by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
“Kung basahin lang po nila ‘yung probisyon ng Constitution, marami pong mga safeguards na inilagay ‘yung 1987 Constitution upang sa ganoon ay hindi maabuso ‘yung martial law. Malinaw po diyan na hindi po suspended ang operation ng civil authorities, hindi po suspended ang operations ng mga korte,” he said.
“So diyan po ay manalig po tayo na kapag bukas po ang mga institutions na ito ay siguradong hindi po ito maaabuso, at dagdag pa rito, ‘yung martial law noon, kung inyong matatandaan, ay lahat po ng mga himpilan ay sarado po, wala pong media noong araw, hindi po kagaya ngayon na malaya po tayong nagsasalita,” he added.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the President is required to report to Congress 48 hours after he issued his proclamation. The House and the Senate, via joint session and a joint voting, may revoke or extend the period of the state of martial law.
Congress leaders, who have implied support for the declaration, have said there is no need to convene for a joint session.
The copy of the official declaration was sent to both the House and the Senate late Wednesday night, nearly 24 hours since Malacañang announced Duterte’s decision
Source: GMA

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