From the Philippine News Agency (May 24): Westmincom assures respect of human rights under martial law
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr.,commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), on Wednesday assured the public that the military will respect human rights in the implementation of martial law.
“We are, however, assuring the public that we will use the current mandate to boost our campaign against terrorism. And we will enforce our mandate in accordance with the law and with respect to human rights and the International Humanitarian Law,” Galvez said in a statement.
Galvez clarified that they have yet to receive “a written guidance as to how the declaration will translate to our operations on the ground, especially here at Western Mindanao, where all threat groups are present.”
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law for 60 days, hours after the Maute group laid siege in Marawi City Tuesday afternoon.
Galvez quoted part of Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, which provides: “A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion."
Galvez also assured the Moro revolutionary fronts— Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) — of the primacy of the peace process in the implementation of the martial rule in Mindanao.
“To our MNLF and MILF brothers, please be reminded that the declaration is done to suppress the rebellion brought about by the Maute group in Marawi [City] and the other threat groups related to them, such as the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) and the BIFF (Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Figthers),” he said.
“There is no need to worry about the current situation as our soldiers will be reminded to uphold and respect the ongoing peace process between the GPH and the peace-loving MILF and MNLF,” he added.