AFP remains committed to democratic principles

By Priam Nepomuceno

September 21, 2017, 10:48 am

MANILA --- As the nation commemorates the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assures the public that it remains committed in complying with all democratic principles.

"The AFP passes on its assurance to the people that we abide fully by all the principles of our democratic way of life and that allowing vindictiveness to rule will not be productive," AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said late Wednesday.

Padilla also pointed out that the prevailing martial law in Mindanao which was imposed due to the outbreak of heavy fighting in Marawi City following the series of Maute Group attacks last May 23, is not the same as the one imposed in 1972.

Martial law in Mindanao is being implemented in accordance with existing laws especially those that pertain to prescriptions and proscriptions relating to human rights.

Also, Padilla said the people's right to peaceful assembly is enshrined in the Constitution and the AFP is duty bound to protect this.

"It is a right that we are duty bound to protect as part of our mandated duty," he added. But despite being a part and parcel of a democratic way of life, the AFP spokesperson said this right must be availed responsibly and must not unduly disturb the peace and the right of others to carry on their lawful business.

"We then admonish those participating in such exercises to make sure that they do not unduly impede traffic, ensure they do not destroy public & private property and respect those who do not wish to participate," he added.

This is in wake of President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to declare Sept. 21 as a "National Day of Protest" giving leeway to militant groups and other sectors to take to the streets and air their grievances. (PNA)