Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Move to revoke martial law snowballs; rights abuse feared

December 9, 2009, 6:24pm

Original Story:

Lawmakers belonging to the opposition Liberal Party (LP) on Wednesday filed with the House of Representatives a joint resolution seeking to revoke Proclamation 1959, which placed Maguindanao under a state of martial law.

This developed as National Party (NP) standard-bearer Senator Manny Villar said the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao is unnecessary as he called for the immediate dismantling of private armies to quell lawlessness. He likewise slammed continued attempts at curtailing human rights and freedom in various parts of the country, citing in particular Maguindanao, where people continue to live in fear.

Supported by 26 lawmakers, the joint resolution argued that the presidential proclamation does not satisfy the constitutional requirements and lacks factual and legal bases to support its validity.

Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III, the LP spokesman in the House, said anti-martial law legislators will try to exert all efforts to ensure that “Proclamation 1959 is revoked at the soonest possible time.”

“We should have convened 24 hours after the proclamation of martial law to revoke it. As it is, we are already more than five days late in doing our mandated responsibility in the event of a martial law declaration,” Tañada said.

Though outnumbered, Tañada said the opposition was ready to engage administration allies in a debate. “I will focus on the factual bases of the proclamation, its constitutionality and at the possible human rights violations as a result of martial law,” he said.

Tañada, chairman of the House Committee on Human Rights, said: “Let us not forget that during martial law, news can be blocked and rewritten according to what the military rulers say. Up to now, reports of human rights violation, be it the military or by other forces, remain unconfirmed.

“But that doesn’t mean that there are no human rights violations. We must protect the rights of majority of the people of Maguindanao who are not at fault and should not be unduly punished.”

According to the joint resolution, no actual rebellion has actually transpired in Maguindanao and that martial law cannot be declared as preventive measure against rebellion.

Villar, meanwhile, said “In today’s civilized world and in a democratic country such as the Philippines, there should be no room for violation and abuse of human rights. Nobody, particularly those in power, has any right to trample on the innate rights of people as human beings.”

Villar reiterated his stand of condemning any form of human rights violation past, present, and future. He joins the cause of human rights advocates and activists nationwide who are tirelessly fighting for their rights and principles.

He vowed to work with various human rights groups to help them, once and for all, attain what they are clamoring for and what rightfully belong to them – justice and indemnification.

“We have to learn from the past in order to go on with the future. We have to give justice and indemnity to the victims of human rights violation during the martial law years up to the present. We will work for recovery of all ill-gotten wealth in accordance with the rule of law,” said Villar on the commemoration of Human Rights Day this Thursday.

Upholding of Filipinos’ human rights is among the key priorities of the Villar-led Nacionalista Party. Last Tuesday, the NP announced that it is severing its ties with the Marcos-led Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL). However, Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. remains as an official senatorial candidate of NP.

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