Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a eulogy flanked by
military personnel. Photo:
fugao Representative Teddy Brawner
Baguilat has expressed serious concern that President Rodrigo Duterte is
dangerously close to becoming a dictator and it may just happen without
Congress doing its constitutional role to be a check against abuses by
any other equal branch of government.
Baguilat has thus pleaded yet again for
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and House Majority Floor Leader Rudy
Fariñas to convene and review the Martial Law declaration in the wake of
the attacks in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
Baguilat was also alarmed by the
president’s pronouncement that he would not listen to any other body
except the Armed Forces of the Philippines when it comes to what to do
in Marawi City, and that even the Supreme Court should not stop him.
“The president should understand that a
true democracy can only function if there are adequate checks and
balances and that these are respected. They are there for a reason,
mainly to avoid any abuse of power by any one branch of government. But
at the rate that he is going and based on his own words, he is
fashioning himself to become a dictator, with no regard for what the
other Constitutional bodies will say,” said Baguilat.
The “true minority” group may be small in
the House of Representatives, said Baguilat, but it would not standby
idly and wait for the Martial Law declaration in Mindanao be abused and
even extended to the whole country.
stressed that Congress has a constitutional role to review any
declaration of Martial Law, no matter how the administration justifies
it. “We owe it to the people to seriously study the Martial Law
declaration lest we become complicit to any possible abuse that this may
lead to,” said Baguilat.
He also stressed that to question a
declaration is not tantamount to becoming unpatriotic or blind to the
real problems that are besetting the people of Marawi, but rather the
opposite. “We have our mandate from the people to prevent the dark
history of Martial Law in our country from happening over again,”
He said earlier that the imposition of
martial law is an “extreme measure” that must be treated with caution.
“Some of our countrymen seem to think that
martial law equates to security. We should remember that the primary
effect of martial law is the suspension of certain civil rights, which
lends itself to abuse,” Baguilat said earlier.
“The people need to know what the
government intends to do with its extraordinary powers under martial
law, how those activities relate to suppressing terrorist activities,
and how the rights of innocent civilians will be protected,” Baguilat