MALACAÑANG yesterday warned it will throw the book at abusers of the martial rule in Marawi.
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said this in reaction to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Lanao del Sur chapter’s “severe outrage” over supposed illegal searches and seizures.
“The President appreciates the support of the Lanao del Sur IBP chapter for its declared support of martial law. However, he also assures them that concerns of alleged excesses will be quickly addressed, all abusers will be stopped and punished,” said Abella yesterday during a press conference in Malacañang.
In fact, the President is set to investigate the reported abuses, Abella said, pointing to that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will conduct the probe.
At some point, the Department of Justice and the Supreme Court will also be part of the investigation, it was learned.
“They (military) already have their set of mechanism but regarding this particular situation, let’s leave it to both DoJ and SC… First, it must come from the military,” said Abella.
As to the timeline for beginning the investigation and releasing results, Duterte’s spokesman said, “We’ll see how it follows.”
Last Friday, IBP-Lanao del Sur released a statement expressing “severe outrage” over “illegal searches and seizures in Marawi City by military, police, and other law enforcement agencies.”
These searches and seizures were supposedly done to “innocent civilians” who have no connection to terrorists. The group also compared the illegal searches and seizures to similar abuses during martial law under late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.
They said the military and the police had committed “wanton disregard of sanctity of domicile, the right against deprivation of property without due process of law, the right to be secure in one’s person, house, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures and the privacy of communication and correspondence of innocent civilians.”
The group of lawyers said it based their claims on “first-hand data and information fresh from the battle field,” videos, and social media posts.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines has vowed there will be no abuses under the martial law in Mindanao declared by Duterte.
The Department of National Defense, the agency led by martial law administrator Delfin Lorenzana, ordered the military to uphold the rule of law and protect the Constitution-enshrined rights of citizens.