By Raïssa Robles
The Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command has issued the following statement on President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in all of Mindanao.
From the statement, it is clear that the soldiers there have not moved to operationalize Martial Law. They are still awaiting orders from their Commander-in-Chief, President Rodrigo Duterte.
One paragraph jumps out in this statement. It says that “the Maute and other groups have the capability, though limited, to disturb the peace.”
“As to the Marawi incident, the Government is in control of the situation and is fully aware that the Maute and similar groups have the capability, though limited, to disturb the peace; these have shown no hesitation in causing havoc, taking innocent lives, and destroying property as manifested yesterday in Marawi City.”
I leave the reader to make his own conclusion on the implication of that, in the context of the Martial Law declaration.
Earlier, I posted a piece asking –
Did President Duterte leave the country with nobody in charge?
Did President Duterte leave the country with nobody in charge?
I was told that Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno was left behind and in charge. Has anyone heard anything from Diokno since the fighting erupted in Marawi City?
Wesmincom’s statement shows there is a gap in the information and decision-making flow from Malacanang to the troops on the ground.
Below is the full statement from Wesmincom:
AFP Statement on the Declaration of Martial Law and the Marawi incident
Headquarters, Western Mindanao Command, Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City- May 24, 2017
Our President, through Presidential Spokesperson Abella, declared last night “Martial Law” in the entire Mindanao for a period of 60 days.
During the Press Conference attended by DFA Secretary Cayetano, DND Sec Lorenza, and the Presidential Spokesperson Abella, the President called for such due to the developing situation in Marawi City yesterday and the impending volatile situation in other areas of Mindanao.
We are yet to get a written guidance as to how the declaration will translate to our operations on the ground, especially here at Western Mindanao, where all threat groups are present.
We are, however, assuring the public that we will use the current mandate to boost our campaign against terrorism.
And we will enforce our mandate in accordance with the law and with respect to human rights and the International Humanitarian Law.
I would like to specifically quote a part of Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, which provides that:
“A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion.”
To our MNLF and MILF brothers, please be reminded that the declaration is done to suppress the rebellion brought about by the Maute Group in Marawi and the other threat groups related to them, such as the ASG and the BIFF.
There is no need to worry about the current situation as our soldiers will be reminded to uphold and respect the ongoing peace process between the GPH and the peace-loving MILF and MNLF.
As to the Marawi incident, the Government is in control of the situation and is fully aware that the Maute and similar groups have the capability, though limited, to disturb the peace; these have shown no hesitation in causing havoc, taking innocent lives, and destroying property as manifested yesterday in Marawi City.
At 2pm yesterday, our soldiers launched an operation against the members of the local Terrorist Group-Maute, also believing that the ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon was with them.
We tried to contain the fighting in specific areas, but the Militants attempted to conduct diversionary tactics in other areas of the City in order to ease off the pressure in the target area where IH is believed to be hiding.
Containing these terrorists could have been easier if the area is not a built-up community, however, as our troops have to inch closer to the enemy, they also need to make sure that the civilians are safe.
Our Soldiers and policemen are complementing each other’s efforts in order to contain and address the attacks conducted by the militants in some areas of Marawi.
And yes, we have already incurred casualties from among our forces due to the skirmishes yesterday.
We have also received reports of the death of some Maute members, and the death of some civilian casualties which we are still validating right now.
Along this line, we are calling on all citizens of Marawi to refrain from going out from their homes and to be vigilant at all times. We also ask them to inform authorities of any suspicious looking individuals in their area or inform authorities of any incidents that they believe should need action from the government forces.
Additionally, we would also like to appeal to those who are in Marawi City and in other areas to refrain from posting the locations of the government troops in social media as it will only endanger the lives of our soldiers and policemen. More so, it will only hamper our ongoing operations on the ground.
While it is true that we have enough forces, we still need the full support of the people in Marawi in this fight against terrorism.
Once again, your WestMinCom will continue to do our mandate and is doing our best to finish the problem the soonest.
Creeping Martial Law and a Creepy Dictator!
During the campaign period, Duterte was not shy on spewing our authoritarian ideas. He has one solution for all problems he is facing, and that solution is the FINAL SOLUTION- K I L L !
When Duterte won, Duterte and his inner circle concocted a plan to roll out his solution to get rid of the drug menace and it is murderous but only targeted the poor sans the Drug Lords and big suppliers and narco-politicians, thus Oplan Tokhang was implemented pronto.
Before the roll-out of Tokhang, one of the leakers happened to boast about Duterte’s plan and how Gen. Bato formed groups with incentives on how many bodies they could put in the list as “Lumaban kasi ang addict na ito or pusher na ito”. One ingenious way that the planners did was to adopt what they did in Davao and apply it nationally, was the encouragement by the police to the drug addicts to ‘surrender’ in their respective precincts so as to be given a chance to reform and deceptively promised that the government is just concerned of their well-being. Hundreds of thousands were duped to ‘surrender’ and they were so ignorant that by doing so, they were signing their ‘death warrants’ or the least be subject to extortion.
After the leak came out, I shared here in this blog that there will be “Purge in July”, since I believe the veracity of the leak, coming from the PNP itself. And when the reported bodies of Tokhang victims began populating the news and tabloids, I realized that indeed the leaker was not boasting as an effect of overdose of alcohol consumption.
The bodies kept on piling up and the Filipinos are alarmed and even the Human Rights Watch of UN was appalled by the sheer number of victims in so short a span of time!
Of course Duterte has to sustain it and with his pride and bravado claimed that it is an internal issue and foreigners should not meddle in his governance, of course with the usual expletives and like your drunk uncle kept on rehashing history about the abuses of the Americans and the Europeans more than 70 years ago, as if that will give him a pass on his current abuses.
Then there was a rumor going on in AFP that Duterte was recruiting generals who are promised big rewards and power if they join Duterte’s Martial Law Plan. Trillanes was informed by this activity and he started to counter Duterte’s move by exposing Duterte’s Davao Death Squad, to stall and by psychological warfare kept the ‘would be’ recruits to sit on the fence. Duterte did not help himself either in the DDS issue since he said it himself that he is DDS in one of the interviews and admitting it with great pride. Another issue that Duterte incriminated himself is his admission of taking Fentanyl (an opioid) and his dependence on it, but he caught himself at midsentence and he retracted by saying he stopped taking the drug. With Duterte’s admiration of Hitler and Marcos and his intermittent threat and toying of declaring Martial Law, Duterte had many a times showing his Freudian slips.
De Lima is a thorn in the side of Duterte even when he was a mayor of Davao. De Lima as Senator has the platform to expose Duterte’s past and present abuses, and she did. However, Duterte saw De Lima as a louse that could be popped with his nails anytime thus he tasked Wiguirre to nail De Lima and promised that Speaker Alvarez will extend his undivided assistance and Pimentel will not meddle in the Senate. And so the demolition, trumped up charges, and manufactured witnesses were piled up on De Lima, sans concrete evidence and based on hearsay!
Though Trillanes is another pesky accuser of Duterte, Duterte respects Trillanes power since a big number of powerful generals and officers are backing Trillanes, and Duterte was warned by his inner circle not to touch Trillanes, else a bullet will just find its way to Duterte’s brain.
With Duterte’s administration faltering and with blunders galore from Marcos burial, Tokhang, EJK, fighting with UN and US, coziness with China, Benham Rise incident, fighting with the NPAs, Abu Sayaff’s abductions and beheadings, Peso’s decline in value, unemployment numbers swelling, and many more which show his administration’s incompetence, Duterte needs to take control.
Note that Duterte sees himself as strongman like Hitle and Marcos, he believes that he could govern successfully if he has total control and not be checked by the Supreme Court nor the Media (I did not include the House of Representathieves and the Senate since the majority are already coopted and will defend Duterte’s every action), Duterte’s needs to impose Martial Law. The question is how and how does he condition the mind of the Filipinos so that there will be least resistance when he did declare it? According to a leaker, the plan is to do it incrementally, thus the word Creeping Martial Law!
By implementing the first phase –Oplan Tokhang, Duterte could condition the mindset of the Filipinos that thousands of bodies of the ‘cardboard criminals’ will be a normal sight, thus de-synthesizes or numb us make it the new normal.
The second phase is to create lawlessness through planted bombs in Davao and areas within their control so that they could create a narrative that fits their description of lawlessness.
The third phase is to encourage the bandits to fight the government forces, like tipping them where to ambush our military. What is a few number of military or policemen’s lives sacrificed to attain his goal?
Then to test the reactions of the Filipinos and the other branches of government and the media, Duterte did not immediately declare Martial Law, but a taste of ‘State of Lawlessness’! And what was the reaction? It was affirmative in Duterte’s perspective, since there was only a little effort of push back, from our lawmakers, Supreme Court, and the Media!
So the Fourth Phase is to partly declare Martial Law, and see again the reaction of the populace. This incident in Marawi City fits into the puzzle! Military operation to capture one of the leaders of Abu Sayaff went awry and Fifty of Maute dissidents were able to fend off a battalion of AFP? Though the fighting was concentrated to a small area of Marawi City, which gave Duterte a reason to declare Martial Law! And note that with exaggeration of the casualties and lawlessness and even contradicting the AFP spokesmen who claimed that they are under control of the situation, therefore a code that there is no need to declare Martial Law Marawi City, yet Duterte does not want to listen to them since it was his plan after all to declare Martial Law!
So Duterte has a prescription for every tiny problem-KILL! And with this Marawi incident, his solution is out of proportion by declaring Martial Law in the city! Then while he was at it, he exaggerated further and declared Martial Law to the whole of Mindanao!
Then he was toying at the idea of declaring it in the Visayas too, but Bong Go restrained him by warning him that there will be instant push back even by his conscripted Senators and Representathieves!
Duterte yielded and stepped back, but without his sick sense of humor that he might declare Martial Law in the entire country if ISIS operates in Manila!
So don’t be surprised when there will be some scattered explosions in Metro Manila and Gen. Bato waves a black flag with Arabic characters written on it and announced that ISIS has moved their operations in Metro Manila then after an hour Duterte will declare the proclamation of Martial Law in the entire country!
I don’t know about you how you find this Martial Law or Duterte, but I think they are both creepy…
john c. jacinto says
It’s reprehensible that Congress has not yet convened to review the Martial Law proclamation. Koko Pimentel says there is no need for Congress to convene, this is bullshit.
does the senate pres knows what action to take?
or is he bent on licking the knee-jerking jetskiman?