The Commission on Human Rights on Thursday stood firm on its ground that martial law was not needed in Mindanao to address the problem of terrorism.
“It has been the position of the CHR that our security forces are fully capable of addressing lawless violence in the country without the need for martial law,” lawyer-spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said.
“The 1987 Constitution is also clear that only invasion and rebellion merit such declaration. As such, there has to be a strong reason should the government move for another extension—based on the sound recommendation of our Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police on the real situation on the ground,” she added.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he would ask the House of Representatives for a third extension of martial law in Mindanao on the recommendation of the police and military because of the threat of terrorism.
Also, De Guia reacted to the President’s remarks to “kill useless bishops” criticizing the government.
“Statements that could embolden the violence against priests and other religious persons are gravely alarming in the face of continuing attacks against those deemed as critics of the government. Churches and priests, such as in the case of Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Caloocan, work directly with communities and families, who continue to suffer the many forms of human rights violations allegedly stemming from the government’s drug campaign,” De Guia said.
“Instead of calling them useless, the government must take their concerns as valid challenges from the ground and as means to improve, rather than degrade, protection of human rights of all,” she added.