‘Should we declare martial law in Agusan too?’
Faced with another hostage crisis this time in Agusan Del Sur, will the government also resort to martial rule to quell criminals?
This question was posed Thursday by Senator Richard Gordon during the joint session of Congress deliberating President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Proclamation 1959 that placed under martial law the province of Maguindanao.
At least 57 people were massacred on November 23 by armed men believed to be supporters of the Ampatuan clan.
On Thursday, police have confirmed that at least 65 people, mostly children and teachers, were taken hostage by an armed group in Sitio Maitum, Barangay San Martin in Prosperidad town.
Authorities were to serve an arrest warrant for multiple murder against the group’s leader when the hostage-taking occurred, police have said.
“There were about 100 hostages in Agusan, should we declare martial law there?” Gordon asked the panel of resource persons composed of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Philippine National Police chief Jesus Versoza and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Victor Ibrado.
Gordon stressed that prior to the declaration on December 4, AFP spokesman Romeo Brawner made a statement that there was no need for the province to be placed under martial rule.
Ermita said Brawner was not privy to the meetings of higher authorities, “therefore he is not is a position to say that martial law will be declared.”
Gordon: ‘Should we declare martial law in Agusan too?’
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 19:39:00 12/10/2009