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Basis for Martial Law declaration, against the law – Constitutionalist

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2017


MANILA — A constitutionalist has questioned the basis of President Rodrigo Duterte for declaring martial law in the entire region of Mindanao.

One of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, Atty. Christian Monsod, argues that the turmoil in Marawi can be considered as lawless violence only, and not rebellion or invasion which should be the basis of martial law as stated in the Constitution.

“It seems to me that the situation there can be addressed by the 1st part of section 18 on the Constitution calling for the armed forces to address lawless violence. [I] don’t think it needs a declaration of martial law,” Monsod said.

Even a group of human rights lawyers explained there had been only one encounter in Marawi City that authorities were not able to immediately control.

“We think the declaration is not valid because there is no factual basis. There are only two basis – rebellion and invasion. There is definitely no invasion. We think there is no rebellion as well. Because first, when you say rebellion, there has to be an armed uprising with the purpose of removing your allegiance with the government,” Atty. Ephraim Cortez, secretary general, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said.

Meanwhile, Senator Franklin Drilon has asked for a separate briefing because of some seemingly conflicting statements from the administration and the armed forces.

The senator said, “I think that would be useful so that we could fully understand the premises or the basis, because we get conflicting reports like, I heard the AFP Spokesman that everything is under control. If it’s under control, why was martial law declared? We don’t want to come to any conclusion until, at the very least; We get a report as required by the constitution.”

And even Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte herself believes the situation in Marawi City is not that severe.

“What’s happening in Marawi City is only lawless violence,” Mayor Sarah Duterte said.

Monsod, meanwhile, sees a bigger motive behind the declaration of the President.

He said, “It is scary because he is testing weather the people are accepting or willing to accept martial law even if there are really no sufficient grounds of declaring it and it would be a good sign for him to carry out a broader agenda than just federalism.”

Monsod said the power is now in the courts to study the martial law declaration of the President, while it’s up to Congress to decide on whether or not to approve the imposition of military rule.

“There must be a check and balance in our Constitution because it is really open to abuse with extra ordinary powers that the President has,” Monsod added.

President Rodrigo Duterte is the fifth president that declared martial law. The first was Emilio Aguinaldo in May 1898. Second was Jose P. Laurel in September 1944. Third to declare was Ferdinand Marcos in 1972 which lasted for nine years.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also declared a one month martial law in the town of Maguindanao in 2009 after the Maguindanao massacre. – Grace Casin | UNTV News and Rescue


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Duterte mulls over formation of own hit squad vs NPA rebels

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, November 28th, 2018


President Duterte gestures during his speech at Camp Raja Sikatuna in Bohol


BOHOL, Philippines — In his speech last night at Camp Raja Sikatuna in Bohol,President Rodrigo Duterte said he is considering forming his own hit squad to combat the Special Partisan Unit (SPARU or sparrow) of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“Ngayon ang kulang talaga is ang ‘sparrow’ ko rin. Diyan lang man sila makalamang, sa bukid fight man yan. So mag-create ako ng sparrow — Duterte Death Squad against the SPARU,” he said.

The sparrow unit is known as the communist rebels’ hit squad during the regime of the late president Ferdinand Marcos in the 1980’s.

Last March, Duterte noted that there seems to be a resurgence of the NPA’s sparrow units.

“I will match their talent also for assassinating people. May armas yan sigurado…iyon ang balak ko,” Duterte said.

According to the President he will recruit former NPA members who have returned to the government fold to form his proposed hit squad.

The President’s statement comes amid continuing friction between the government and communist rebels, whose peace negotiations fell through in 2017 over continued attack on state troops.

Communist Party of the Philippines founding chairman, Joma Sison slammed the President’s plan, calling it a “dangerous proposal” that will bestow power upon the military to liquidate civilians suspected of being NPA members.

Sison also clarified that the communist rebels’ sparrow units had long been defunct.

Meanwhile, the President is also planning to deploy a bigger military force in Jolo, Sulu to counter the forces of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group.

“Talagang isang division ilagay ko, not only a company, not only a battalion, not a regiment — but I’m going to place an entire division for the islands towards Sabah,” Duterte said.

The deployment of additional military forces in Jolo comes after the death of five soldiers and wounding of several others in a deadly encounter with the terrorist group. — Joan Nano | UNTV News & Rescue

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Duterte sacks HUDCC Sec. Gen. Millar due to corruption allegations

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Secretary-General Atty. Falconi V. Millar. | Image from Task Force Bangon Marawi via Facebook

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has fired Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Secretary General Falconi Millar due to corruption allegations.

This was announced ahead by Malacañang and later on confirmed by President Duterte in his speech during the inauguration of the Cavite Gateway Terminal on Thursday (November 22).

“Just before I left my office, I signed a dismissal order noong Sec-Gen ng Housing, a certain Millar. Binabasa kong resume kanina at tinitingnan ko ang termination, and what deep shit the guy has created for him. Valedictorian sa law class and everything, but I don’t know… Somehow along the way I’ve been with government, public prosecutor, a fiscal. Then as mayor for 23 years, marami akong nakita. Along the way, corruption creeps in. And mahirap talaga, you know, when you are there, sec-gen, you have the power, you have the authority. You can do corruption, and it can corrupt you, give you a little… it corrupts you absolutely. So power of corruption, and sometimes it is really… You want your money to go to your pocket. Almost every day. That’s the sad story about this government. Worker for government,” the President said.

However, there are no details provided regarding the corruption allegations against Millar.

Millar was a member of Task Force Bangon Marawi tasked by the President to lead the rehabilitation of Marawi City. – UNTV News and Rescue


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Duterte vows education, agriculture aid to Papua New Guinea

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Monday, November 19th, 2018

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is greeted by officials from Papua New Guinea upon his arrival at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on November 16. | PCOO/Richard Madelo

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the citizens of Papua New Guinea for being accommodating to Filipinos living and working in the Pacific nation.

The President, in return, promised to provide help in terms of education and agriculture.

“We are willing to help establish schools. We will send vocational skills training, ‘yung TESDA.

Governor, we are willing to help your livelihood projects here. Maybe the next generation would be at least receptive of, you know, improvement. But I commit to you that — I have heard that most of our countrymen are treated well and respected…But we are ready to build schools, ask teachers to come here and help in the education of your young people,” the President said during his meeting with the Filipino community in PNG on Friday (November 16).

It was the first time that a sitting President of the Philippines visited Papua New Guinea.

During a bilateral meeting, the President signed a 5-year memorandum of agreement on agricultural cooperation between the two countries. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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