While most leaders in Mindanao manifested their support for the declaration of Martial Law in the island region, opposition senator Francis Pangilinan of the Philippines on Monday called on the ministers of President Rodrigo Duterte to convince the president not to violate the Constitution.
Pangilinan made this appeal upon learning that the President announced that he would only listen to the military, and not to Congress and the Supreme Court, while deciding if the Martial Law needs to be extended beyond 60 days. Duterte dared to continue the Martial Law until and unless the military and police tell him the country is safe.
Pangilinan also asked the security cluster of Cabinet ministers to disallow themselves to be used to disregard the Philippines Constitution.
Duterte declared Martial Law on May 23 when a group of Maute terror militants stormed Marawi City, took civilians as hostages and engaged a gun fight battle with Philippines soldiers.
The death toll since the firefight begun on May 22 has already reached 100, out of which 61 are members of the Maute militants, 20 soldiers and policemen, and 19 civilians. Around 180,000 of the 200,000 local evacuated to nearby city and municipalities.
Pangilinan, who is also a lawyer, said that disregarding the constitution would open the gates for dictatorship. The Philippines held a peaceful revolution in 1986 when they ousted Philippines dictator President Ferdinand Marcos during the so-called EDSA revolution.
"No one is above the law, not even the President. We oppose any violation of the Constitution on matters pertaining to the martial law declaration," the senator was quoted by the Philippines Daily Inquirer.
The Philippines Congress is expected to convene this week to deliberate whether or not to extend the Martial Law beyond 60 days. Duterte enjoys the support of majority members of Congress and Senate who happens to be his political allies or party mates in the political party PDP.