LAST Saturday morning, while driving from the GMA 7 broadcast complex in Nivel Hills, Apas, I followed a government vehicle, a Mazda pickup with plate number SJW 878. What was a government vehicle doing on a weekend?
Former Busay barangay captain now councilor Yody Sanchez was suspended by the ombudsman for one month for using his barangay vehicle on a weekend and without a trip ticket. And mind you, the barangay captain is the one who issues the trip ticket.
I took a picture and posted it on my Facebook account. Many reacted, calling the ombudsman to investigate the matter.
Yesterday, Land Transportation Office (LTO) 7 Director Alita Pulga texted me that the vehicle is under the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office. Okay. Why was the vehicle on the road when there was no calamity that day. Did the driver or whoever used it obtain a trip ticket? If the anti-graft office is willing to investigate the matter, I am willing to act as witness. Calling the attention of disaster chief, my friend Nagiel Bañacia. Hinaot nga dili ninyo depensahan ang driver kung dunay violations sa paggamit sa maong sakyanan.
The overwhelming support given by Congress to President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend the declaration of martial law in Mindanao only shows how popular his move is and how he still enjoys the full trust and confidence of national legislators.
Last Saturday, hours before the expiration of the Mindanao Martial Law, the Congress, in a joint session, voted for the request of the President to extend the declaration until the end of the year.
In the House of Representatives, 245 members supported it, including all our Cebu legislators. In the Senate, 16 members were also in favor. Kon sa Binisaya pa “makabungog nga suporta.” Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under martial law last May 23 after members of the Maute group attacked and tried to take over Marawi City. Until now, there is still resistance from surviving members of the terrorist group despite the heavy artillery launched by the military.
The chief executive was able to convince Congress to extend the martial law as there is a need to completely flush out remnants of the Maute group and other terrorist groups like the Abu Sayyaf Group and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. The police and the military cannot just arrest suspected terrorists without the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.
Under martial law, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended, giving authorities the power to arrest and search suspected terrorists and their lairs without necessarily obtaining arrest and search warrants from the court.
And why is the coverage of the declaration still the entire Mindanao? This is to avoid the war from spilling over in other places in the region. Mindanao can be accessible by land. Remember, some members of the Maute group, including the parents of the group’s founders, were arrested outside Marawi City.
Now, considering that it has been extended until Dec. 31, do you think this is enough time to eliminate the terrorists’ presence in Marawi City and in other parts of Mindanao?
Well, only time can tell. But let’s just cross our fingers that peace and tranquility will be restored in war-torn Marawi City.