THE Davao City Prosecutor's Office (CPO) has not received any human rights abuses even after President Rodrigo Duterte extended the martial law in Mindanao following the Marawi crisis due to Islamic State-inspired armed group.
Davao City assistant prosecutor Rizalyn Gonzales–Pontanos told SunStar Davao that the CPO even the regional office of the prosecution has not received neither reported any human rights violations or abuses arising from martial law.
"Not a single report or complaint on rights abuses committed by the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) arising from martial law since May 24 was filed here in CPO," Pontanos said.
Pontanos said she believes that the military and police recognized their responsibilities as government law enforcers. She added that on her own opinion, the extension of martial law was made to protect the lives of the Filipino people.
According to the reports, the conflict between the government armed forces and Maute group in Marawi City, raging for over 10 weeks now, has killed 114 government troops and 45 civilians, along with 471 believed to be terrorists.
The Marawi crisis prompted Duterte to place Mindanao under martial law on May 24 and extended it until December 31. He suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for the military and police to conduct warrantless arrests.
AFP chief-of-staff General Eduardo Año earlier said some 120 members of the Maute group in Marawi City have been gone missing. He added that these members were believed to be hiding and/or staying in other areas in Mindanao.
The armed forces assured that there will be no spillover of the ongoing skirmish in Marawi City, Año said, adding that they are already looking for the 120 others.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on July 31, 2017.