AFP to respect Bill of Rights if Duterte declares martial law
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assures it will respect the Bill of Rights and other laws and provisions of the Constitution in case President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law if the rebels will continue their violent activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In the event that the President declares Martial Law, we will implement it in accordance with existing laws and the provisions of the Constitution," said Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesman, on Friday.
"We have the wealth of experience and lessons learned in the enforcement of ML in Mindanao. We will capitalize on it," he said.
"We assure our people that, should the AFP be tasked to enforce ML, we will do so respecting the Bill of Rights enshrined in the Constitution, the Law of Armed Conflict, and other applicable laws," he added.
Arevalo issued his statement after Duterte warned that he might declare martial law if the rebels will continue its lawless activities.
"The President is genuinely concerned for the welfare of the common Filipino the assistance for whom are being robbed by terrorists NPA," he said.
"He was also enraged by the NPA’s senseless killing of soldiers assisting in the distribution of relief goods and other social amelioration program. These, among other atrocities committed by this terrorist group CPP-NPA during this crisis have infuriated the Commander-in-Chief," Arevalo said.
"They prompted him to threaten to declare martial law if these opportunists terrorists will continue to commit their inhumane and criminal acts at this time that we are fighting a pandemic," he added.
Arevalo said "the AFP is devising new techniques, tactics, and procedures to ensure further that in assisting LGUs (local government units), our troops will not fall prey to treacherous attacks by these terrorists NPA."
Arevalo said the AFP also "disagree with the demands of the NPA especially on the release of all of their so-called political prisoners for peace negotiations to proceed and for the CPP-NPA to share power with government."
"Instead we support the position of the President that the NPA should stop their extortion activities, desist from attacking civilian leaders and the communities, and cease attacking soldiers and policemen not involved in combat operations," he said. Robina Asido/DMS