'Nationwide martial law will burn the country'

Bandera (Mindanao) - - NEWS -

AN organization of human-rights lawyers on Saturday warned that a nationwide martial law “will burn the country.”

Earlier, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the nationwide declaration of martial law could be the government’s probable response if mass protests escalate on Sept. 21.

September 21 is the anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Various organizations vowed to go to the streets on this date to protest the spate of extra judicial killings.

“Duterte and [Defense Secretary and martial law administrator Delfin] Lorenzana will burn the country in this latest attempt to harass, threaten and quell the growing public dismay against intensifying state tyranny: extrajudicial killings, attacks against democratic institutions and the political purge against known critics of the government,” National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said in a statement.

NUPL is a human rights organization with close to 500 members composed of lawyers, law students and paralegals in 20 chapters nationwide.

Its members, during its 10th year anniversary signed a manifesto condemning the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country, the threat of a declaration of martial law and the attempt to maim institutions responsible for ensuring checks and balances as well as government accountability.

The manifesto was signed by its members led by former partylist and current NUPL chairperson Representative Neri J. Colmenares, NUPL President Atty. Edre U. Olalia and its Secretary General Atty. Ephraim B. Cortez.

In his speech, Colmenares also denounced the seeming anti-poor anticrime drive of the President.

“Have you ever heard of someone getting killed in an anti-drug operation in posh areas like Forbes Park or Corinthians,” Colmenares asked.

Colmenares said the victims of the government’s anti-crime drive came from areas like Payatas , Caloocan.

“The very strength of President Duterte’s campaign that he will be for the poor is now happening in reverse,” he said.

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