Amid the ongoing dispute over the legality of martial law in Mindanao, former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada on Monday said he believed President Duterte “knows what he is doing.”
After laying a wreath at the Rizal Monument in Luneta for the 156th birth anniversary of Dr. Jose Rizal Monday morning, Estrada called on the public to place their trust on Duterte, especially now that the siege of Marawi City has yet to be resolved.
“He knows well, being the president,” Estrada said when asked about his personal views concerning Duterte’s declaration of martial law in the entire Mindanao. “We should trust him.”
“As the Filipino people elected President Duterte, we should support him. If the Filipino people trusted him as president, let’s give him the full support,” Estrada added.
The Supreme Court is presently resolving three consolidated petitions filed by opposition lawmakers and Mindanao leaders questioning the legal basis of the martial law declaration.
Two other petitions were filed by separate groups, led by former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada, both seeking issuance of a mandamus that would compel the Senate and the House of Representatives to convene jointly to review the declaration.
The Manila mayor has been supportive of Duterte’s resolve to crush terrorism in Mindanao. Two days after Islamist militants laid siege to Marawi, the former president publicly expressed his support to the imposition of military rule in the area.
Similar to his “all-out war” against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) when he was president in 2000, Estrada had even indirectly suggested that an all-out military offensive be conducted in Mindanao to wipe out various terror groups:
“It’s about time. We only have one flag, one Constitution, one government. Period. ‘Di puedeng may MILF, NPA, wala ‘yan. No. Iisa lang bandera natin. Iisa lang konstitusyon natin,” he pointed out.
“We have to follow the law. What kind of government do we have if it cannot impose its own laws in its own land?” he added.
Estrada also hit the critics of Duterte for opposing the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.