Manila Bulletin

Alejano warns abuse possible under continued military rule


An opposition lawmaker who happens to be a former Marine captain warned that prolonged exposure to the effects of martial law could eventually lead to abusive acts from government troops.

Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, in a press conference Thursday said that scenarios of abuse become likely once military personnel begin to disrespect civilian authority. And the continued extension of military rule, particular­ly in Mindanao can lead to this.

“I trust them (military) to perform their mandate profession­ally,” Alejano said.

“But we shouldn’t expose them to the principle that civilian authority isn’t working. Bumababa tingin nila sa civilian authority (Their view on civilian authority becomes weak),” he said.

Alejano claimed that “abuses can’t be avoided if their is prolonged combat” among government troops.

“Nasusugata­n sila, hindi sila nakakauwi, talagang may possibilit­y na abuso (They get hurt in battle and are unable to go home, there’s really a possibilit­y of abuse),” he said.

It can be recalled that an estimated 1,000 ISIS-inspired Maute Group members occupied Marawi City in Lanao del Sur last May 23, prompting the Chief Executive to declare martial law over the entirety of Mindanao. What ensued was a five-month long battle between the military and terrorists.

On Wednesday, Congress, voting in a Joint Session approved President Duterte’s request extending the validity of martial law in the southern islands up until December 31, 2018. That’s 19 months straight of military rule. But Alejano said that the continued imposition of martial law in Mindanao is not for security, but for political purposes.

Another opposition solon in Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman agreed with the ex-Marine’s opinion that abuse under the regime of martial law is a possibilit­y.

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