Philippines: Senate President questions inclusion of drug syndicates in martial law order — Dangerous Obsession: “Martial Law” Most Commonly Uttered Words By President Duterte — Even More Often than “Rape”

Senate President Franklin Drilon questioned the inclusion of drug syndicates on the operational directive for implementation of martial law. Philstar.com/AJ Bolando, file
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MANILA, Philippines — Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon on Saturday questioned the inclusion of drug syndicates on the operational directive for implementation of martial law.

In his interpellation to the report of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to extend martial law, Drilon asked whether the inclusion of drug syndicates in the operational directive of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for martial law justify the martial law extension.

Prior to his interpellation, Drilon stressed that “the Constitution requires that there must be actual rebellion or invasion to justify martial law and any extension of martial law.” He, however, said he does not find drug syndicates part of rebellious groups.

“The operational directive for the implementation of martial law issued by Armed Forces of the Philippines ordered his forces to ‘dismantle the New People’s Army, private armed groups, illegal drugs, peace spoilers and other lawless armed groups,” Drilon said.

“Are the illegal drugs syndicate and peace spoilers within the coverage of an intricately linked to the rebellion will serve as basis of martial law and extension being sought now,” the senator asked.

‘Drug syndicates are connected to Maute group’

Medialdea argued that the rebellion is still ongoing in Mindanao region and has not been quelled. He mentioned that there terror groups are linked to drug syndicates.

“Large volumes of drugs were taken from the rebel groups—we must take note of that,” Medialdea said.

“By way of connection, we should look into this,” the executive secretary added.

Due to this, Drilon asked where else can the coverage of martial law be extended if it can be extended to illegal drug syndicates.

The executive secretary insisted that connectors to the rebellion are being apprehended including the drug syndicates. “Drug [syndicates] supported rebellion by the Maute group is being pursued,” he argued.

Drilon countered Medialdea, saying the drug syndicates are not engaged in actual rebellion and in actual armed uprising but are allegedly only incidentally supporting ISIS-inspired local terror group Maute.

The Senate minority leader also questioned the inclusion of the New People’s Army in the martial law operational directive. He said the scope of martial law should only include Maute group as it is the group that instituted rebellion in Marawi City.

Length of extension, scope of martial law also questioned

Aside from the groups indicated in the rebellion, Drilon also questioned the length of extension requested by Duterte as well as the areas part of the scope of the martial law extension.

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For Drilon, extension of martial law until year end is too long. He cited that Duterte’s report included that there are 379 rebels neutralized which leaves only about 221 rebels left as target in less than two months.

“Why do we need six more months to defeat the remaining rebels in the conflict area?” Drilon asked.

Medialdea just replied that it is not easy to be running against rebels, hiding in mosques and underground. He said it is the first time the government forces encountered “urban warfare.”

On the other hand when asked whether declaration of martial law in the whole of Mindanao was necessary when there are only ten Mindanao provinces mentioned in Duterte’s report, Medialdea said the government forces cannot determine where the terror groups are heading.

“There are still 1,200 manpower, we cannot foresee the location where they are going,” Medialdea said, adding that Bohol, which is in Visayas has also been attacked before the Marawi siege.

Drilon however insisted that there are 27 provinces in Mindanao and not all of it are affected by the Marawi crisis. He said that in the report, there was no mention of the presence of rebellion in 17 other provinces of Mindanao like Agusan del Norte.

The senator added that the 17 other provinces cannot be adjacent to Marawi City geographically speaking.

In his interpellation, Drilon also said that the executive branch has the burden of justifying the actual rebellion and invasion. He cited that imminent danger cannot be used as justification for martial law or extension since it has been intentionally deleted in the 1987 Constitution.

“Therefore, the president cannot use imminent danger or rebellion or invasion as ground for declaring martial law or any extension thereof,” Drilon said.

Drilon also defined rebellion as “the attempt to remove the allegiance from government  by these [terror] groups.”

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/22/1720418/drilon-medialdea-does-presence-drug-syndicates-justify-martial-law

Related:

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 (Contains links to several other related articles)

Friday, May 26, 2017

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Thursday, May 25, 2017 and Earlier
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See:

Lorenzana said the confrontation opened Tuesday afternoon, when government forces attempted to arrest a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group, an extremist organization with ties to the Islamic State. They had learned Isnilon Hapilon was in the area, but according to Lorenzana, the military had not expected him to be backed up by “more or less 100 fighters” — many of whom were members of another ISIS-linked organization, the Maute Group.

More than 100 gunmen responded to the raid by burning buildings and conducting other diversionary tactics, officials said, adding that thousands of residents have fled Marawi.

 (with links to related reports)

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