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Jolo church blast not basis for Mindanao martial law extension – Lagman

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Tho bombing of the Jolo Cathedral last Sunday cannot be used as justification for the third extension of Martial Law in the whole of Mindanao, opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay) said.

Lagman said the Jolo incident happened 46 days after the third extension of martial law was granted by the Congress upon the initiative of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“It was not a factual basis existing at the time of the controversial extension,” said Lagman.

He explained that the bombing incident has been explicitly categorized “as a terrorist attack by no less than Duterte himself as well as the military and police leadership, thus, not an act pursuant to an alleged rebellion in the region.

The Albay solon noted that monthly reports submitted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on the implementation of martial law during the second extension in 2018 showed that “no person was reported to have been captured, arrested or charged with rebellion before any court.”

“Rebellion was not included in the monthly reports as among the crimes committed during the second extension,” he said.

Lagman explained that if no individual has been apprehended and indicted for rebellion during the one-year second extension, then there was “no sufficient factual basis” for the claim that rebellion exists or persists in Mindanao.

Last December 12, the joint session of Congress has granted the request Duterte to further extend the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao citing that various insurgent groups such as the Abu Sayyaf, Bangsamoro Islamic Fredoom Fighters, and Daulah Islamiyah “continue to pursue their rebellion against the government by furthering the conduct of their radicalization activities, and continuing to recruit new members, especially in Muslim communities.”

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