by Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com
MANILA — Senate President Manny Villar called the government-imposed curfew in Metro Manila and the provinces in Southern and Central Luzon from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am early Friday “unnecessary, uncalled for and unconstitutional.”
“I’m personally against it. I don’t see any merit why the curfew was imposed,” Villar told the Asian Journal in an interview at the Manila Hotel after the conclusion of a global parliamentary meeting on HIV/AIDS.
Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno announced the curfew during a press conference moments after Sen. Antonio Trillanes and Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim surrendered to authorities after a standoff at the Manila Peninsula Hotel.
Describing the curfew as a “necessary inconvenience,” Puno called for the cooperation of the citizenry.
Checkpoints were placed in various critical parts of Metro Manila and Southern and Central Luzon to further root out the possible elements involved with the Manila Pen siege.
“I was surprised. Hindi ako sumasang-ayon sa paraan na kanyang ginamit,” Villar said.
The Senate President also expressed caution on the issues of curfew and the arrest of media men who covered the uprising.
“Parang tinatakot na tayo. Yung pagkakaaresto sa mga media at yung curfew kagabi, dapat nating tingnan ang mga ito nang sabay, hindi separate,” Villar explained.
He added that the government seemed to be “testing” the public. “Nakakakaba, kasi baka tine-test nila kung hanggang saan ang limit ng publiko kapag nag-impose sila ng curfew,” Villar said.
Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, like Puno, believes that the imposition of a curfew was needed, but he was quick to say that the nation is not under martial law.
“I think it is reasonable that the government takes this measure. The President can take the necessary measures to make sure that the rebellion stops. This is not a curtailment of the rights of the people,” Teodoro said in an interview.
“If this were martial law, we wouldn’t be here,” he added.
Teodoro asked people to stay at home as police look for the other people who are involved in this uprising.
“Kailangan nating gawin ito para masugpo ang kung ano pang natitirang kaugnay ng rebelyong ito,” he added.
The curfew was lifted early Friday morning.
Media people arrested
After the surrender of Trillanes, Lim and the Magdalo soldiers, media men were rounded up outside the Manila Peninsula and brought to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan for processing.
Puno said that the questioning was necessary.
“This was done because of the media men’s refusal to leave the premises. We asked them to leave the hotel at 2:30, 3:00 and again at 3:30. The media men were in between the police and the people that the police were going to arrest,” Puno added.
Officials of ABS-CBN, led by the head of their news department said that the arrest of media people was uncalled for.
“These moves are draconian and they pose serious threats to press freedom. There is no reason why journalists who are just performing their jobs must be arrested,” Maria Ressa, head of ABS-CBN News said in a television interview.
The National Press Club and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas has denounced the questioning of the media practitioners.