MANILA -- The one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao from January 1 to December 31, 2018 is a blessing in disguise because security forces will now be more conscious of committing human rights abuses.

Senator Panfilo Lacson made this remark after the Congress, in a joint session, approved the one-year extension in Mindanao voting 240-27.

Lacson, former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, was one of the 14 senators who voted for the extension.

“Di ba parang blessing in disguise pa, na na-extend ang martial law kasi masyadong  conscious   ang security forces natin na kung sakaling mag-commit ng abuses ang mga tauhan nila, alam nilang maraming nagbabantay kasi may martial law (Isn’t it like a blessing in disguise that martial law was extended because our security forces will now be conscious of committing abuses because they know that there will be a lot of people watching them)," Lacson told reporters in an interview after the session.

Lacson said that without martial law, these abuses would be given less attention.

“Ang consciousness, ang awareness ng tao na may martial law nakatuon ang attention natin sa security forces natin. So nakakabawas pa sa mga possible abuses na mako-commit (People’s consciousness and awareness that there’s martial law will allow them to pay attention to our security forces. It could even reduce the possible abuses committed)," he said.

Lacson said that the reason why majority of lawmakers voted for the extension was because they saw that it was nothing like the martial law imposed during the term of former President Ferdinand Marcos.

“Kaya nga siguro yan din ang tinitingnan ng mga bumoto na wala naman peligro na maabuso ito (Perhaps the reason those who voted for the extension saw that it was no longer prone to abuse),” he added.  

He also said that he expected that the one-year martial law extension would provide a “psychological boost” which would allow them to better combat terrorist forces. (PNA)