February 6, 2018
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580
On the SC decision affirming martial law extension in Mindanao
“Just as the Duterte-controlled super majority in Congress colluded to approve the extension of martial law last December 2017, the Supreme Court followed through with a rubber stamp to legitimize martial rule, completing the ingredients for a full-fledged tyranny,” said Karapatan general Cristina Palabay on the SC decision to junk petitions against martial law extension in Mindanao. Today, February 6, 2018, the Supreme Court, voting 10-5, upheld the constitutionality of the martial extension in Mindanao.
“Another year of martial law in Mindanao will no doubt create a favorable condition for the military to continue its rampage on people’s rights with impunity,” Palabay added, citing the documented cases wherein the military brazenly invoked martial law to harass, intimidate, and strip people of their right to expression and freedom of association.
According to Karapatan, among such cases included the unruly interference of elements of the 66th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) during a strike led by Shin Sun Workers Union on June 2, 2017, along with several support groups. The workers staged a strike in April 2017 over the illegal dismissal of 53 workers, some of whom have worked for the company for 17 years. The military and the police violently dispersed the group, crossed the picket line and said: “This is martial law; we will not honor the labor code.” Recently, leaders of the Shin Sun Workers Union and Freshmax Workers Union are being forced to surrender by the 66th IBPA in Compostela Valley.
Palabay added that “the Duterte regime has resorted to fear-mongering – using alleged terrorists, communists, enemies of the state, and what-have-you – to make palatable its dictatorship. Cuddling closely with his US imperialist master, Duterte is venturing into a politically opportunistic scheme to condition terror and use fear as pretext for a full-blown dictatorship.”
“Martial rule remains as an effective instrument for fascists to usurp power, curtail rights, and perpetrate more injustice and impunity – all while crippling available mechanisms for redress and protest. With Duterte influencing other branches in government to decide favorably according to his whims, the people are left to rely on their collective strength. We remain steadfast in our call to end martial law in Mindanao, and to end all fascist and anti-people policies put forward by this despotic regime,” concluded Palabay.
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.