Statement of CHR spokesperson, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the possibility of extending martial law in aid of election and plebiscite in Mindanao

Statement of CHR spokesperson, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia, on the possibility of extending martial law in aid of election and plebiscite in Mindanao

The Commission on Human Rights recognises that peace and order are necessary conditions for the conduct of any political exercise, such as elections and even the expected plebiscite, anywhere in the country. The martial law declaration in Mindanao, however, was primarily justified to address claimed terrorist threats following the siege in Marawi City. We agree with Armed Forces chief General Carlito Galvez that, at this point, it is premature to recommend the extension of martial law.

There is a need for a thorough assessment of its effectiveness and a clear response to alleged cases of human rights violations, including the continuing condition of internal displacement in the region. There is a need to be cautious of compounding justifications for its extension, considering that a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence was also declared in Mindanao prior to the martial law declaration. We trust in the capacity of our security forces in addressing lawlessness and threats of violence without martial law, especially in making all perpetrators, including terrorists, accountable for their crimes.