AFP vows to uphold human rights

By Michael Punongbayan

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has pledged to uphold “every day” the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the world celebrated International Human Rights Day on Sunday.

In a statement released yesterday, Col. Edgard Arevalo, AFP public affairs office chief, said the military has established human rights offices, from its general headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City down to the small units in the frontline.

“We continue to be transparent in our operations and are willing to cooperate in investigations where verified complaints are brought before us,” he added.

Arevalo also gave assurance that the AFP observes the rules of engagement anchored on human rights, law of armed conflict and the provisions of the 1987 Constitution in all its engagements, from humanitarian assistance and disaster response to civil-military operations and combat operations.

The AFP also holds continuing lectures on human rights and international humanitarian law, he added.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/12/12/1767585/afp-vows-uphold-human-rights

Martial-law extension a must to curb terror sympathizers: DND

The extension of martial law in Mindanao is essential to completely curb threats from sympathizers of the Maute-Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS), the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Sunday.

“It will help us to continue our momentum in our campaign against the Daesh [Arabic word for ISIS] and their sympathizers and not to do so will allow them to regroup again. [And] as you know, there have been reports that they are recruiting already in the Lanao area, so I think this will help curb their activities on the ground,” DND Public Affairs chief Arsenio Andolong said in an interview.

“If we dont have martial law, it will be very difficult for the rehabilitation of Marawi and the other war torn areas in the area,” he added.

“We’re going to move logistics ano ’yung mga equipment, pagka sila’y nakakaikot ng malaya d’un, they can hamper ’yung pagre-rebuild natin di ba, kasi paano natin matutuloy ’yun eh kung hindi natin ma-secure yung area, papunta pa ’yung mga engineers natin e baka ma-ambush na ”yung mga gan’un ba,” Andolong said.

When asked whether terror threats remain in Mindanao, Andolong said “there is a threat. In terms of seriousness kasi relative ’yun sa iba-ibang areas ehpero meron, it is there, it is credible.”

On July 23, Congress, voting 261-18, extended martial law in Mindanao until year-end.

In October Lorenzana announced the end of the five-month long conflict between government forces and Maute terrorists in Marawi City following the death of top terrorist leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon.

Andolong, meanwhile, echoed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s stand saying there would be no holiday ceasefire with Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

                “Nagsalita na si Secretary Lorenzana dyan that he is not inclined to declare a suspension of military operations this Christmas because it will give them [NPA] a chance also to continue their attacks on our outpost, they are taking potshots at our troops and policemen and he does not relish that.

Martial-law extension a must to curb terror sympathizers: DND

AFP supports 1-year extension of martial law

By: 

iting the attempts at reconsolidation by the extremists who survived the Marawi siege and the “increasing violence” from communist insurgents, among other threats, the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Friday said it was endorsing the plan to extend martial law in Mindanao.

Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesperson, said the military had submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte its recommendation supporting the Philippine National Police proposal to extend martial law in Mindanao.

Though Padilla claimed to be unaware of the length of the military’s recommended extension, some senators belonging to the majority bloc on Friday said they understood the proposal called for a one-year extension.

The martial law proclamation over Mindanao is set to expire on Dec. 31, unless extended by Congress, which is scheduled to go on a monthlong break from Dec. 15.

There have been calls from several sectors to keep martial law in place, but the minority bloc in the Senate is pushing for its termination to hasten the return of displaced Marawi residents to their homes.

Several senators said they would decide whether to support the extension only after getting a security briefing from the AFP and the PNP.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said senators would discuss the police and military recommendations early next week, immediately after receiving a formal request from Malacañang.

“I expect the formal letter request for extension to be given to the Senate on Monday, then I will immediately take this up with my colleagues,” Pimentel told reporters in a text message.

The President declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 after Islamic State sympathizers laid siege to Marawi City. He won congressional approval on July 22 for the first extension of martial rule.

Mr. Duterte declared the city’s liberation from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf group extremists five months later.

While saying he was not privy to the AFP report, Padilla said Mindanao was still facing threats from the Daulah Islamiyah to which the Maute, Abu Sayyaf and other terrorist organizations belong.

Dangling cash offers, remaining members of these groups are now trying to recruit more fighters from among women and children, as well as the relatives of those who were killed in Marawi, he said.

“Their recruitment is part of their efforts to regain their strength, and they may be expecting that they could retaliate, which is why they remain threats to security, especially in Marawi,” Padilla said.

“This is something that we don’t want to happen, for this group to come back again with a vengeance,” he added.

There could also be violence from the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Maguindanao, Lanao and Cotabato, as well as from the Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, he said.

Padilla said the communist rebels needed to be watched as well, after Mr. Duterte ended peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and declared the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA), as terrorist organizations.

‘Acts of violence’

“That’s part of the reason why martial law may be needed to cover other areas where potential terrorists are in hiding,” he added.

Padilla noted that from January to Nov. 30, there had been a 65-percent increase in violent incidents perpetrated by the NPA in Eastern and Western Mindanao.

Estimated damage from these attacks was at P2.4 billion, he said.

“These acts of violence and destruction from the ranks of the NPA are something that we are seriously looking at because these affect our economy,” Padilla said.

Sen. Miguel Zubiri, whose hometown is in Bukidnon, said he was open to the proposal to extend martial law in the region, though he still needed to hear what security officials have to say before he could vote on it.

Sen. Francis Escudero said he had not seen the request and the justification for extension. “But should it be given to us, I will ask that Malacañang and security officials brief the Senate, even in executive session, as to the reasons for such an extension before I decide,” he said.

A briefing with the PNP and the Department of National Defense is “badly needed” so that lawmakers can be apprised of the developments in Marawi, according to Sen. Joel Villanueva.

Sen. Grace Poe agreed with her colleagues but said that senators should also listen to feedback from local government units in Mindanao before making their decision.

Sen. Gringo Honasan, a retired Army colonel, said he would endorse the extension of martial law, pointing out that the recommendation came from the PNP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, two key agencies which he said were active on the ground.

“If and when the President asks for it from Congress, everything is procedural by law. Better for us to have [martial law extension] when we need it than to need it and not have it, expeditiously,” Honasan said.

But minority senators objected vehemently to an extension, saying it was not constitutional and that because of it, many residents of Marawi still did not want to return to their homes.

Senate minority leader Frank Drilon said a second extension of martial law in Mindanao would be “patently unconstitutional.”

In a statement on Friday, the minority bloc said they “support the position of Mindanaoans for no martial law extension in their home island.

“As security forces reign supreme during martial law, would not military rule actually get in the way of a people-centered rebuilding and rehabilitating of the once-vibrant city? What is the need for martial law? Would martial law suspend bidding in the reconstruction of the city?”

The bloc also wanted to know about the role of Marawi residents in the planning and rehabilitation of their city.

“What guarantees do they have that they can return to their old location and start life anew?” the senators asked.

AFP supports 1-year extension of martial law

Duterte will ask for one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao

By: 

President Rodrigo Duterte will ask Congress for a one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said on Sunday.

Medialdea said Duterte’s letter, seeking approval for martial law extension in the Mindanao would be transmitted to Congress on Monday, Dec. 11.

“[The] recommendation is one year,” Medialdea said in a text message sent to reporters.

Asked if it the extension would cover the entire Mindano, he said, “Yes.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier said they had recommended a one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao.

Duterte declared martial law in the entire Mindanao region on May 23, when the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group attacked Marawi City in a bid to establish a caliphate there.

In July, Congress voted to extend martial law until Dec. 31 after the 60-day period had expired.

Duterte will ask for one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao

Duterte to order mass arrest of communists

MANILA, Philippines — His officials said the terrorist classification of any group requires court approval, but President Duterte is already preparing for a roundup of communist peace consultants.

Yesterday, Duterte told newly promoted military officials to rearrest the communist rebels who were allowed to post bail so they could participate as consultants in the aborted peace talks.

“For those who are out temporarily, we will just zero in because any day now, I will order their mass arrest. I am forced to do this because this is what you want,” Duterte told military officials during a ceremony at Malacañang.

He said the communist peace consultants could now be considered fugitives.

The government, through a Supreme Court resolution, allowed the release of the rebel leaders to participate as consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in the peace talks in Norway.

One of the conditions was that once their participation ceases or the peace negotiations are terminated, the bail bonds shall be “deemed automatically canceled.”

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Duterte cancelled the peace talks and publicly branded the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as a terrorist group.

The NDF is representing the CPP-NPA in the peace talks with the government.

Because of his call then to strike peace with the communists, Duterte said security forces have expressed their sentiments to him over releasing the rebels.

After the talks failed, Duterte said there is no turning back for the freed rebels even if they wanted to continue to negotiate peace with the government.

Among the released rebel leaders are spouses Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, the top NPA leaders,

“I released about 32, including the Tiamzon spouses. They are the ideologues of the Communist Party. They are also old already and I can understand why they are insisting on the resumption of the talks. One day, I will just have you rearrested,” he said.

Duterte warned militant groups and the NPA not to challenge his order or face the consequences.

“You try, and I will show that I am also sincere when I say that I will arrest you and confiscate all those things that are not allowed by law, it is not mine. It has been there for so many presidents to act. Now, on my term, I will do it,” Duterte said.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte’s order includes the groups and personalities supporting the NPA.

He said they are criminally liable for conspiracy to commit rebellion.

Roque said a person or a group could be charged for inciting to rebellion or sedition under the Human Security Act and other penal laws.

While the President declared the CPP-NPA as a terror group, Roque explained the charges against the group or person still needs to be processed by the courts under the Human Security Act.

Roque added that the President is empowered under the law to classify the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization. Malacañang is also abiding by the provisions of the Human Security Act to ensure that Duterte’s proclamation is supported by law, he said.

He said the communist peace consultants could now be considered fugitives.

The government, through a Supreme Court resolution, allowed the release of the rebel leaders to participate as consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF) in the peace talks in Norway.

One of the conditions was that once their participation ceases or the peace negotiations are terminated, the bail bonds shall be “deemed automatically canceled.”

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Duterte cancelled the peace talks and publicly branded the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as a terrorist group.

The NDF is representing the CPP-NPA in the peace talks with the government.

Because of his call then to strike peace with the communists, Duterte said security forces have expressed their sentiments to him over releasing the rebels.

After the talks failed, Duterte said there is no turning back for the freed rebels even if they wanted to continue to negotiate peace with the government.

Among the released rebel leaders are spouses Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, the top NPA leaders,

“I released about 32, including the Tiamzon spouses. They are the ideologues of the Communist Party. They are also old already and I can understand why they are insisting on the resumption of the talks. One day, I will just have you rearrested,” he said.

Duterte warned militant groups and the NPA not to challenge his order or face the consequences.

“You try, and I will show that I am also sincere when I say that I will arrest you and confiscate all those things that are not allowed by law, it is not mine. It has been there for so many presidents to act. Now, on my term, I will do it,” Duterte said.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte’s order includes the groups and personalities supporting the NPA.

He said they are criminally liable for conspiracy to commit rebellion.

Roque said a person or a group could be charged for inciting to rebellion or sedition under the Human Security Act and other penal laws.

While the President declared the CPP-NPA as a terror group, Roque explained the charges against the group or person still needs to be processed by the courts under the Human Security Act.

Roque added that the President is empowered under the law to classify the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization. Malacañang is also abiding by the provisions of the Human Security Act to ensure that Duterte’s proclamation is supported by law, he said.

Image may contain: 1 person, text

7 Maute brothers confirmed dead

BY 

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: The chief of the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) has confirmed that all seven Maute brothers were killed by government troops who battled members of the Maute Group from May to October this year in Marawi City.

The Islamic State-linked Maute group seized several areas in the Islamic city on May 23, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr., WestMinCom chief, announced the killing of the Maute brothers during a meeting of the regional peace and order council (RPOC) in Cotabato City.

Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon, top leaders of the Maute group, were killed in a military assault on October 16. Abdullah Maute was believed killed in September.

 

Galvez said although all the Maute brothers are dead, the military continues its manhunt for Abu Dar, a senior Maute leader who remains at large.

Dar belongs to a Maranao tribe just like the Maute brothers. He was a member of the central leadership of the Maute terror group.

The Maute patriarch, Cayamora, who was arrested in Davao City in June, died of an illness while in a police detention facility in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. Cayamora’s first wife, Farhana, mother of the seven slain Maute brothers, was arrested by the police in Masiu town in Lanao del Sur in August. She is being detained on rebellion charges.

“Abu Dar can likely assume the leadership of the Maute terror group,” Galvez told members of the RPOC, headed by Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman.

Mayor Dimnatang Pansar of Butig, hometown of the Maute clan, corroborated the announcement of Galvez, saying he also received reports confirming that all seven Maute siblings who started the trouble in Marawi City are dead.

“Many of their leaders were killed during the conflict in Marawi City,” Pansar said.

Pansar, president of the League of Mayors in Lanao del Sur, said the bigger challenge now for the government is the rebuilding of Butig and Marawi City.

RPOC members have agreed to help the “good Mautes” who were forced to go underground rejoin society.

“We will not treat them as special people. We can only help them return to their communities but subject to coordination with the police and the military,” Hataman said.

ARMM Vice Governor Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman said many of the Mautes not connected to the terror group have been ostracized.

Hataman has called on all 39 municipal peace and order councils in Lanao del Sur to help the police and military prevent recruitment of Maranaos by local IS-inspired blocs.

“There must be strong semblance of government in the municipalities. War is destructive. We have to prevent conflicts within our level first before we let the military come in. Our presence in the municipalities will help a lot,” he said.

7 Maute brothers confirmed dead

Duterte declares CPP, NPA as terrorist organizations

By: Jhoanna Ballaran

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist organizations.

Anyone proven to be financing these groups would be held liable under the law, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in his announcement on Tuesday, the same day that Duterte signed the proclamation.

“I quote the penultimate portion: ‘In this regard I hereby direct to publish the foregoing designation of the CPP-NPA and all other designated persons, organizations in accordance with Section 3 and 15 of RA 10168 and its implementing rules and regulations’,” Roque said.

Republic Act No. 10168 is Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act, which has provisions on the financing of terrorist groups.

Copies of the document have not been released publicly.

The proclamation of the CPP and NPA as terrorist groups, which is in accordance with the Human Security Act (Republic Act No. 9372), also allowed Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea to instruct the Department of Justice to pursue charges against communist rebels, Roque said.

Roque said that Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had been instructed to file a petition before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Manila to classify the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups.

The announcement came a week after Duterte announced that the Palace was preparing a document formalizing the new status of the two groups.

Duterte declares CPP, NPA as terrorist organizations

SC upholds martial law declaration in Mindanao

By: Marlon Ramos 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday jettisoned with finality the three appeals questioning the constitutionality of the martial law President Rodrigo Duterte declared in Mindanao.

Voting 10-3-1, the high court sustained its July 4 decision which declared that Mr. Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216 was well within the authority spelled out in Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution.

“The court … denied with finality for mootness and lack of merit all three motions for reconsideration filed by [the] petitioners,” Theodore Te, the high tribunal’s spokesperson, told a press briefing.

Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, who penned the majority ruling, was joined by Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Lucas Bersamin, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Samuel Martires and Noel Tijam.

Resolved petitions

Associate Justices Andres Reyes Jr. and Alexander Gesmundo, who were appointed by the President after the high court had resolved the petitions, also agreed with the majority.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio agreed that declaring martial law was within the President’s powers, but differed on the areas it should cover.

Only Associate Justice Marvic Leonen voted to grant the three legal actions separately filed by opposition lawmakers, led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a group of women from Marawi and “lumad” leaders from Mindanao.

Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, who voted to dismiss the the original petitions, was still on leave and did not submit his vote on the petitioners’ appeals.

In upholding the constitutionality of Proclamation No. 216, the magistrates said martial law was “vital for the protection of the country not only against internal enemies but also against those enemies lurking beyond our shores.”

‘Probable cause’

“The President’s duty to maintain peace and public safety is not limited only to the place where there is actual rebellion; it extends to other areas where the present hostilities are in danger of spilling over,” the high court ruled.

“In determining the existence of rebellion, the President only needs to convince himself that there is probable cause,” it stressed.

SC upholds martial law declaration in Mindanao

Supreme Court declares final its ruling upholding martial law in Mindanao

By Rey G. Panaligan

The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday declared final its July 4 ruling on the constitutionality of President Duterte’s imposition of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

During its full-court session, 10 justices voted to dismiss the motions for reconsideration filed by the petitioners who had challenged the President’s Proclamation No. 216 that was issued in response to the attacks by the Maute Group in Marawi City last May 23.

Dismissed were the motions filed by Rep. Edcel Lagman, local Mindanao leaders led by Lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat, and a group of women from Marawi led by Norkaya Mohamad.

Those who voted to dismiss the motions were Justices Presbitero J. Velasco Jr. Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro, Diosdado M. Peralta, Lucas P. Bersamin, Mariano C. del Castillo, Estela M. Perlas Bernabe, Samuel Martires, Noel J. Tijam, Andres Reyes Jr., and Alexander Gesmundo.

Justice Francis H. Jardeleza who had earlier voted on the legality of the martial declaration was on leave and did not indicate his vote.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, Senior Justice Antonio T. Carpio, and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa voted to partially grant the motions as they maintained their position that martial law should be limited only to certain areas in Mindanao.

Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen was the only magistrate who voted to grant the motions.

With the dismissal of the petitions, the SC reiterated its ruling that the President has the power to determine the scope of territorial application of martial law.

Earlier, the SC had unanimously voted to dismiss two petitions that wanted to compel Congress to convene in a joint session to tackle the validity of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

The SC dismissed the petitions “on the ground that Congress did not gravely abuse its discretion in not convening jointly upon the President’s issuance of Proclamation No. 216.”

It ruled that Section 18, Article VII, of the Constitution “imposes no such duty on Congress to convene, such duty (to convene and vote) being limited to instances where Congress intends to revoke or extend any proclamation of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.”

Congress had voted unanimously to extend the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao until the end of this year.

The Constitution empowers the President to declare martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus “in cases of invasion, rebellion or when public safety requires it.”

It mandates the SC “to review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.”

It also provides that “Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.”

Supreme Court declares final its ruling upholding martial law in Mindanao

DRC 2017

AFP Reserved Command, Urban Search And Rescue (USAR) conducted Search and Rescue Operation during the exercise proper of the Disaster Responder’s Challenge 2017.

 Image may contain: one or more people and people standingImage may contain: one or more people and outdoorImage may contain: 7 people, people standing and outdoorImage may contain: 1 person, standing and outdoorImage may contain: one or more people and outdoor