- Senator aired support for president’s declaration of martial law over Mindanao
- He called on Filipinos to understand, support Duterte’s decision
- He also allayed fears of abuses, said Constitution contains several safeguards
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Manny Pacquiao expressed support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to declare Mindanao under martial law; saying it was needed to protect the people there.
“The declaration of martial law is just a temporary yet decisive measure to protect the people, to prevent any further loss of lives and to suppress lawless violence,” GMA News quoted him as saying.
Pacquiao urged Filipinos to set aside their differences for now and support Duterte.
“Now is not the time for us to be divided as a nation. Let us understand that the President makes this tough decision with the welfare of the people in mind,” he said.
The senator also allayed worries martial rule could open up abuses by security forces; saying there were enough safeguards to prevent such scenarios.
“I would like to allay the public’s fear regarding the situation. Our current Constitution provides adequate safeguards against possible abuses which are not available in our previous Constitution,” he said.
A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution. Neither does it confer the military courts jurisdiction over civilians in areas where civil courts are still functioning.
A Mindanaoan like Duterte, Pacquiao also reiterated his support with a statement he posted on his Facebook account.
“As a Mindanaoan, I believe that the declaration of Martial Law is timely and necessary. The violence perpetrated by the Moro extremists in Marawi City has to be stopped. Martial Law is the right move to empower the military and the police to restore stability and order in the area,” read his statement.
Aside from martial law, Duterte also declared the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.