‘Terrorism, not the gov’t, is the enemy’ Martial law ‘decisive, necessary’ step – Pimentel
MANILA – Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III reminded the public that terrorism, not the government, is the enemy as he defended the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed t he entire major southern island under military rule in the evening of May 23 following clashes between government troops and the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.
“Those who have sown terror in Mindanao and threaten the safety and security of our citizens are the enemy — not the government and certainly not our men in uniform,” said Pimentel.
The Senate president believes Duterte’s declaration was a “decisive step” and “necessary” in ending terrorist violence.
“Terrorists are the threat here,” Pimentel said. “They have repeatedly shown an utter disregard of the sanctity of human life and have shown that they will not hesitate to resort to violence and mayhem to further their ends.”
Imposing military rule in Mindanao is the only way at this point to contain the terror threat, said Pimentel, who hails from Cagayan de Oro.
The sooner the threats are neutralized, the better it will be for the people of Marawi City and Mindanao, he said.
“President Duterte knows that, at this point, extraordinary measures are necessary to contain this threat, and those of us from Mindanao understand that,” Pimentel said. “The rest of the nation should understand this as well.”
The Department of National Defense has issued guidelines on carrying out martial law to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
In the May 24 memo, Defense undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario maintained that the “rule of law and human rights should prevail.”
“The declaration of martial law in the island of Mindanao does not suspend the operation of the Constitution nor supplant the functioning of Philippine judicial and legislative assemblies,” del Rosario said./
Residents evacuate to safety after a militant siege in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur on May 25. The Armed Forces struggles to restore order. The entire Mindanao has been placed under martial law.