Rule of law, human rights to prevail despite martial law in Mindanao — DND

MANILA — Despite the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, the Department of National (DND) has ordered military units to observe the rule of law and human rights in the performance of their duties.

This was stressed by DND Undersecretary for Civil, Veterans and Retiree Affairs Eduardo D. Del Rosario in a memorandum issued to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday.

At the time, he was DND officer-in-charge as Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was with President Rodrigo Duterte on an official trip to Russia.

President Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law after Maute Group terrorists launched a series of attacks in Marawi City last May 23.

Five soldiers were killed and 31 others were wounded while 13 lawless group members were shot dead in the ongoing fighting.

The clash between Maute Group members started 2 p.m. Tuesday at Barangay Basak, Malutlut when government security forces learned of the presence of Abu Sayyaf Isnilon Hapilon, who was allied with the Maute Group, and his cohorts.

Hapilon was reported severely wounded in the series of military operations in Lanao Del Sur early this January.

The former is reportedly the representative of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group in the Philippines.

“Please be guided that in the declaration of Martial Law in the Island of Mindanao does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplement the functioning of the Philippine judicial and legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction of military courts and agencies over civilian where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,” he added.

In line with this, the AFP and all bureaus and agencies of the DND are ordered to observe the rule of law and human rights in place or part of the Philippines where the edict is in effect, Del Rosario stressed.

“Any arrest, search and seizure executed or implemented in the area or place where Martial Law is effective, including the filllng of charges, should comply with the Revised Rules of Court and applicable jurisprudence,” the memorandum stressed.

“DND bureaus and agencies involved in humanitarian activities are hereby enjoined to institute appropriate action on those affected and displaced persons by providing adequate assistance in coordination with other government agencies,” he added. PFN/