Joma: Duterte ‘playing with fire’ with martial law in Mindanao

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Joma Sison. FILE PHOTO

Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison on Wednesday said President Duterte was “playing with fire” with his declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

“Naglalaro sa apoy si Duterte kung laruin niya ang martial law at paglaruan niya ang bayan (Mr. Duterte is playing with fire as he toys with martial law and the nation),” Sison said in an online interview.

“Sakim sa kapangyarihan o buwang lamang ang magsasabing mabuti ang martial law at solusyon ito sa mga problema ng bayan (Only those greedy for power or fools will say martial law is good and will solve the problems of the nation),” said Sison whose CPP, along with the New People’s Army, has waged a bloody insurgency that has killed 43,000 since the 1970s.

On Tuesday night, President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao after fighting raged in Marawi City between government forces and militants who pledged support for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

READ: Duterte declares martial law in South | Mindanao martial law to be ‘as harsh’ as that of Marcos — Duterte

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the declaration, which would last for 60 days, was based on Article 7, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution.

Mr. Duterte made the declaration from Moscow, where he was on a four-day official visit. He cut short his visit to return home and submit a report to Congress within 48 hours of declaring martial law as required by the Constitution.

Sison warned that Mr. Duterte’s military rule in Mindanao would have a “negative effect” on the ongoing peace negotiation between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

“Lalong tiyak na negatibo ang epekto sa peace negotiation ang martial law kung iproklama ito sa buong Pilipinas matapos ang waring trial balloon nito sa Mindanao (I’m sure that putting the entire Philippines under martial law, after what seems to be a trial balloon in Mindanao, would impact negatively on the peace negotiations),” said Sison, the NDFP chief political consultant.

The negotiating panels of the government and NDFP are meeting for the fifth round of talks this week in The Netherlands. CBB

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