With apprehensions rife over President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to place the whole country under a state of lawlessness prompted by the recent bombing of the Davao City night market which killed 14 people, Senator Richard J. Gordon yesterday allayed fears of another martial law as he assured that the former should not be taken for the latter.
While supporting the President’s move, Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, said the committee is open for complaints against misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance committed in connection with the implementation of the declaration.
“The declaration of state of lawlessness has no specific review. And this lack has created uncertainty and engendered fear in many of our citizens. Political leaders and many good-hearted people have expressed grave apprehension fearing that their civil, political and human rights would be adversely affected,” he noted in a personal and collective privilege.
The senator also stressed that there must be rules in the implementation of the declaration of state of lawlessness, adding that Congress, under the Constitutionally-mandated separation of powers, could provide the necessary check and balance to allay the people’s fear.
“I would like to state here for the record that we have a Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation or the Blue Ribbon Committee. I only say this to assuage those of us who rightfully and perhaps legally will be concerned about the declaration of the state of lawlessness. The Blue Ribbon is empowered to investigate misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance in office by officers and employees of the government, its branches, agencies, subdivisions and instrumentalities, and more importantly, any matter of public interest. We can open the Blue Ribbon Committee to any complaints. Any citizen who feels he had been aggrieved by the military checkpoints or by any military man or any member of the government could come to the Blue Ribbon Committee at any time,” he said.
In an earlier statement, Gordon said bombings had happened before and therefore was probably not unexpected considering the dastardly actions made previously by lawless elements who are now under effective interdiction from the government.
This is not the first time for Gordon to deal with terrorist attacks, both in Davao City and other parts of the country. During his time as Secretary of Tourism, Gordon had to take action to avert the negative effects to the tourism industry of several bombings such as Zamboanga Puericulture Center bombing on October 28, 2001 which killed 5 people; General Santos bombing at Fitmart store on April 21, 2002 where 15 people killed; Metro Manila bus bombing on October 18, 2002 where 2 people killed; and Superferry Bombing outside Manila Bay on February 27, 2004 where 116 people killed, among others.
“Let us all at this time be reflective, deliberate and calm as a people. Let us do our share by being constantly vigilant and alert as we continue with our daily normal lives and not allow such heinous acts to deter us from moving forward – for in allowing these incidents to stop our normal way of living, we would have allowed those who terrorize to win,” he said.