Zarate on SC martial law decision: ‘A tragic day for human rights’


Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate decried the decision of the Supreme Court upholding the constitutionality of the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

“This is a tragic day for the cause of human rights. The Supreme Court failed to see the suffering of Mindanaons who are victims of the military abuses due to Martial law,” Zarate said of the high court’s 10-5 ruling.

The Makabayan lawmaker was one of the petitioners who challenged the extension of martial rule in Mindanao.

In a statement, Zarate warned of more violations of human rights after the Supreme Court ruling.

“In fact we have received reports of military bombings and shelling of Lumad communities in Surigao del Sur,” he said, citing Lumad residents’ reports of loud explosions near Sitio Magkahunao, Brgy. Buhisan, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur.

Gunfires have been heard in the area since January 13, while drones were also spotted on the evening of January 13 and again at dawn of January 16.

Bayan Muna said it learned that since January 8, the Army’s 75th Infantry Battalion has intensified its military operations in the area, affecting nine (9) lumad schools of TRIFPSS and ALCADEV Inc. and 14 other Lumad communities.

“We strongly condemn these violations of our peoples’ rights and these must be stopped. With the SC decision, the AFP would be further emboldened to commit atrocities against Lumads and other Mindanaons. We must continue to struggle to defend our rights,” Zarate said.