Ledesma: Who is afraid of martial law?

WE HAVE heard the same refrain from the same faces that comprise the moribund opposition both from the Senate and the House of Representatives and too, the social media.

They tried the same scare tactics like how and what they did the first time President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island of Mindanao under martial law following the assault of Maute Isis terrorists in the once bucolic Islamic City of Marawi.

To the man, the opposition and leftist kibitzers heatedly argued against the martial law invoking the perdition that Marcos martial law regime had caused on the nation. If emergency measures have to be imposed the same should be limited to Marawi solely, they chorused.

But before their peroration could die down, among the top architects of the siege of Marawi, the parents of the Maute brothers who organized the dreaded Isis terror group, were apprehended in Davao City.

Elsewhere in Iligan, Cagayan de Oro, and Cotabato, Isis suspects and its support elements were held in the network of checkpoints that the Armed Forces of the Philippines had promptly set up all around Mindanao.

A bloody encounter between the Isis terrorists ensued resulting in the death of at least 160 soldiers, 802 terrorists that included Isnilon Hapilon, Isis appointed emir and the Maute brothers.

Elsewhere in Iloilo, the political turf of Senator Franklin Drilon, three suspected members of the Maute Isis were captured. In separate incidents that occurred earlier, eight members of ISIS-aligned terrorist Abu Sayyaf Guerillas said to be advance elements of the terror group were neutralized. Four soldiers died in that encounter.

While Marawi had been cleared of Maute ISIS, not a few Muslims leaders in Lanao, Cotabato and Maguindanao aired their concern over the reported recruitment by the remnants of Maute Isis of impressionable youths to join the terrorist band. They too have pointed out that movement of notorious breakaway groups from MILF and MNLF were monitored while the kidnap-for-ransom Abu Sayyaf terrorists are still hunting for their next prey.

Other than containing the movements and possible strikes and other form of violence that these terror groups might wage, there is absolutely nothing that would prove that martial law in Mindanao could lead to oppression, dictatorship and whatever fear of the unknown that those who oppose martial law conjure.

That they can tongue-lash and demonize Duterte and criticize him in every turn argue against their own preconceive views that their freedom is being curtailed or even challenged. They even made use of the President’s granddaughter having some pictures taken in Malacanang! It’s too far from being sensational to cover the stink of the scandalous Dengvaxia transaction and where the accusing fingers will point to.

But a teenage girl visiting her grandpa in the “palace” and have a photo taken was more scandalous than the deathly vaccine to almost a million youths who were made guinea pigs for an experimental medicine.

There were victims of martial law imposed by Marcos and there are those who were not even born during the regime that unabashedly claim they too are victims of the dictatorial regime.

There are those so-called heroes for having fought Marcos and in the aftermath demanded to be compensated. But even as they do, they still continue to fight the government after Marcos for they have, after all, not given up their ideology which had become stale and irrelevant.

The Duterte brand of martial law is something ironic. It places the Armed Forces of the Philippines in straight jacket for in no other time have they behaved as they were warned not to indulge in any form of misconduct. There are checkpoints no question about that, but the first thing that you hear is “good evening sir” and “thank you po”. Unless you are a psychopath or petrified by the sight of a soldier or a policeman, you get the feeling of security and relief our law enforcers are there to give protection.

Summoning the past by placing the Marcos martial law in juxtapose with that of Duterte is not only anachronistic it to is divergent.

CPP/NPA Chieftain Jose Ma. Sison (Joma) who now finds discomfort in his Netherland asylum after Duterte tagged his commie organization as terrorist, has not stopped slamming the President for extending martial law in Mindanao. Well, he asked for it. The other day, soldiers who were aiding victims of Tropical Storm Urduja in Biliran Island were ambushed by the NPAs.

The President who had planned to spend a holyday break in Davao is set to fly instead to the battered island. He will be greeted by at least 26 dead from the scourge of Urduja and soldiers wounded during the ambush.

Yes, in an island as small as Biliran, Duterte need not impose martial law but he will order the military to hunt the perpetrators. There is no way to escape.

In Compostela Valley Province, a hotbed of communist insurgency, about 200 members of the armed revolutionaries have returned to the folds of the law following the extension of martial law and the terror tag of the CPP/NPA. The AFP welcomed them home. Now tell me, who is afraid of martial law?
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