Monday, December 7, 2009

Gibo goes against Aquino, Villar on Maguindanao option

by Christine Herrera

Original Story:

Former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. is the only one among presidential candidates to support the imposition of martial law in Maguindanao but he wants the administration to restore normalcy in the troubled province as soon as possible.

His rivals Senators Benigno Simeon Aquino III of the Liberal Party and Manny Villar of the Nationalista Party are vehemently against the military rule.

Teodoro, the only lawyer among the presidential aspirants, said government should use martial law to suppress lawlessness, dismantle private armies and restore normalcy in Maguindanao.

Aquino warned congressmen not to be a “rubber stamp,” in the process earning the ire of his former colleagues in the House.

House Speaker Prospero Nograles described as “very ungentleman” Aquino’s comment considering that the latter was also a congressman for nine years.

“The good senator was a former member of this chamber. How could he be so unfair,” Nograles said, asking “why the ungentlemanly tirades.”

“When Noynoy [Aquino] was in the House, I never heard him say that the institution that he belonged to was a rubber stamp. Quite a sudden change in so short a time. He became senator because he was a member of a rubber stamp? That’s not fair,” Nograles said.

Nograles leads majority of the administration lawmakers that back Proclamation 1959, which declared martial rule in Maguindanao. He would author a resolution tomorrow in support of martial law.

Villar said martial law was not needed because several provinces in Mindanao have already been placed under the state of emergency.

“Putting these areas under the state of emergency is strong enough to quell political and civil unrest there. There is no need to impose martial law,” Villar said.

In a joint statement, Aquino and his running mate Senator Mar Roxas questioned the validity of the imposition of martial law.

They said the declaration of martial law “does not make sense” to them.

“The recent government pronouncements have been that everything is under control,” the LP statement said. “AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner declared no more than four days ago that there is no need for the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao or elsewhere in the country because the AFP and PNP are on top of the situation.”

“Acting Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales declared no more than three days ago that the government’s effort to contain the tension in the province is holding ground. Ronaldo Puno, DILG secretary, said as late as last night that ‘no decision had been made’ on the declaration of martial law, and suggested that queries be directed to Norberto Gonzales, acting defense secretary. What has changed since then?,” the Liberals asked.

“It does not strengthen the position of government to serve justice to the victims of the massacre. The declaration of martial law can even lead to changing the character of the crimes committed in Maguindanao,” they said.

They stressed the crimes allegedly committed are murder, rape, kidnapping and more and that these capital crimes are non-bailable.

Original Story:

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