MANILA, May 25 (Mabuhay) — Senator Francis Pangilinan said Thursday there is no basis for President Rodrigo Duterte to raise the possibility of placing the entire Philippines under martial in order to defeat terrorist groups.
“While there may be isolated terrorist acts in these areas, there exists no Visayas-wide nor a Luzon-wide invasion or rebellion to merit the declaration of martial law as allowed under our Constitution,” Pangilinan said.
“Absent any nationwide rebellion or invasion, we will vigorously oppose a nationwide martial law declaration,” he added.
Pangilinan said a nationwide martial law declaration would only bring more suffering to the people and would not address poverty and joblessness.
At a news conference upon his arrival from Russia on Wednesday, Duterte pointed to the projected arrival of ISIS in the country and the open defiance of lawless armed groups in Marawi City led by Maute group as the “compelling reason” for his declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
The President said he might also expand the coverage of martial law to cover the whole country “if ISIS has already taken foothold in Luzon and terrorism is really not far behind.”
“While we have given our critical and guarded support for the martial law declaration in order to defeat the Maute/Hapilon group in Marawi, we do not believe that martial law should be declared in the Visayas or Luzon,” said Pangilinan, president of the former ruling Liberal Party.