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Mindanao governors, lawmakers support martial law

12/08/2009 | 07:58 PM

Several Mindanao governors and congressmen on Tuesday expressed their support to the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao province, saying it should serve as a wake-up call for “warlords" in the country.

"With what's been found all over the area, I think the declaration is justifiable. No one knows what's going to happen," said Davao del Norte Rep. Antonio Lagdameo at a press conference inside the Batasan Pambansa in Quezon City.

Davao del Sur Rep. Marc Douglas Cagas IV said the existence of warlords is a reality in the whole country. “Realistically speaking, warlords do not only exist in Maguindanao. There are also other warlords in other areas."

“This [martial law] is a wake-up call for them to stop the rule of tyranny and start abiding by the rule of law," he added.

Through Proclamation 1959, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo placed Maguindanao under martial last Friday night to contain what her government said a looming rebellion there allegedly led by supporters of the Ampatuan clan.

The Ampatuans, once allied with President Arroyo, are blamed for the Nov. 23 massacre of 57 people in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao. The victims included several female members of the rival Mangudadatu clan and dozens of journalists.

The Senate and the House of Representatives are set to hold a joint session on Wednesday afternoon to discuss whether they would revoke or extend Proclamation 1959 – the first use of martial law since the late President Ferdinand Marcos imposed it on a nationwide scale more than 30 years ago.

The Mindanao officials, however, stopped short of saying that martial law should also be imposed on areas believed to be dominated by powerful political clans.

"Essentially we support the full implementation of the rule of law," said Sarangani Governor Miguel Dominguez when asked whether or not they support the expansion of martial law to other areas.

Aside from Dominguez, Cagas and Lagdameo, also present at the press conference were Sulu Governor Sakur Tan, Basilan Governor Jum Akbar, and North Cotabato Rep. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza. - KBK, GMANews.TV


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