January 24, 2018, 9:30 am
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Martial law lapses

SENATORS and representatives who opposed the extension of martial law in Mindanao miserably failed to point out in their argument the inability of our security forces to properly implement it.

The executive department had the gall to ask Congress for a whole-year extension of martial law in the southern island of Mindanao even as their police and military forces are unable to enforce the gun ban or contain the Muslim clan wars.

Policemen are being investigated for participating as shooting elements and/or passive witnesses remiss in their duty in preventing these clan wars called “rido.”

Either way, this proves the futility of martial law in Mindanao, and the extension granted by Congress becomes a big embarrassment for the military and the police.

The latest “rido” occurred in the town of Bacolod-Kalawi in Lanao del Sur last week involving armed elements of warring clans, some of them policemen.  

Chief Supt. Graciano Mijares, the chief of police of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said he is coordinating with the military for a “focused operation” against members of the warring clans involved in the armed clashes.

Meanwhile, Col. Romeo Brawner, Jr., deputy chief of the anti-crime Joint Task Force Ranao, said police and military follow-up operations in Bacolod-Kalawi yielded high-powered firearms and ammunition.   

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command, said his soldiers seized nine firearms from the warring Muslims - three M-14 assault rifles, three M-16 assault rifles, two M-653 assault rifles and a .22 caliber rifle, more bullets and magazines.

Galvez, Brawner and Mijares, generals all, should be ashamed of the stars on their shoulders.  What they displayed is a passive, defeatist, and reactive martial law implementation in Mindanao.  

These officers allowed “rido” to take place by not collecting all the firearms that can be collected from these areas.  Now they are gathering evidence and filing cases in court.  What do they need martial law for if their tools and tactics are the same as other places in the Philippines where martial law is not a declared emergency dispensation?

Martial law needs to show its teeth and its fangs for people to fear it and to follow, especially rich and powerful Muslim clans who scoff at martial law because they can hold on to their firearms anyway, and in that part of the country, political power goes the way of whoever holds the gun.

If these residents, Muslims or not, can have firearms and are allowed to illegally act as they do which is outside the law, whether martial or civilian, what would stop them from occupying Marawi again or any other southern city?
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