Press Release
December 12, 2018


*Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros' explanation on why she voted No to extend Martial Law in Mindanao

Mr. President, like the past extensions, I register my strong and unequivocal "no" vote to the motion on the table to grant the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend the proclamation of Martial Law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus. Like the past extensions, I find no cogent rationale for martial law that our existing legislation, and the capacity of our military forces, cannot address.

But unlike the previous extensions of July 2017 and December 2017, this new extension poses a new set of threats - specifically because the new extension period will cover the May 2019 elections.

The Executive has intimated that martial law will ensure the more orderly conduct of elections, and that it will prevent violence and lawlessness from tarnishing the electoral process. But both historical precedent and the track record of this administration give us reason to doubt. Noong 1978, ginamit ng diktador na si Ferdinand Marcos ang militar at ang dagdag na kapangyarihan nito para ipanalo ang kanyang mga kandidato at para patahimikin ang mga kritiko na pinoprotesta ang talamak na pandaraya sa eleksyon. At ang pakikitungo ng administrasyong Duterte sa kanyang mga kalaban - kinukulong para sa mga gawa gawang kaso, pinapawalangbisa ang amnesty na matagal nang ginawad - ay nagsasabi sa atin na hindi nagkakalayo si Ginoong Duterte sa nasirang diktador.

Because in addition to fears already expressed -- fears that have not been allayed by a government that continues to run roughshod on human rights and civil liberties -- I am afraid of what martial law might mean for the democratic right to vote, I continue to vote no.

And as a final note, to the brave men and women of our armed forces, I wish to remind you that you are the protector of the people. This duty to protect includes the duty to protect from tyranny and from creeping authoritarianism. May you choose to always remain faithful to the people, and may you trust that in doing so, you will be judged fairly by history.

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