MalacaAang has been urged to declassify and make public the intelligence reports it has used as basis in asking Congress to extend the period of Martial Law in Mindanao until the end of the year.
In so far as information that will not put our soldiers in harm's way or jeopardize current and future operations, I think this can be shared to the public, for as long as the sensitive parts are redacted, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said.
"If it will only identify the threats but not the deployment of our forces, then I think the public has the right to know," Recto said.
"What has been shared to 24 senators and almost 300 congressmen should be shared to the public as well. There's no harm in such a disclosure, provided it has been purged of its sensitive contents," Recto said.
Recto admitted that documents and reports presented to them by national security officials "are not so revealing and explosive that they can only be discussed in whispers."
"These closed-door briefings only add mystery. But content-wise, hindi naman talaga ganoon ka-delikado na you must first take a vow of secrecy before hearing them," Recto said.
He said "a release of curated information to the public will educate them" if an extended Martial Law in Mindanao is justified or not.
"Let us not embargo all reports. Ibigay natin sa taumbayan ang pwedeng i-share sa kanila. So they can decide for themselves if a prolonged Martial Law is justified. Let us trust their maturity to appreciate the facts. And to spot the fiction," he said.
Recto said public support for Martial Law must be "an informed choice, arrived at by them freely through a study of facts, not fake news or alternative facts."
"If terrorists are knocking on our doors, or if they're already inside, then transparency is the best policy. Kung hindi ganoon, piyesta angmga conspiracy theorists. And that uncertainty is what terrorists want," he said.
"Maganda 'yung ganoong bukas tayo pagdating sa impormasyon. Para malaman ng taumbayan ang mga naka-ambang panganib. 'Yungverified, hindi haka-haka lamang. Information is best antidote to fear," he said.
Source: Senate of the Philippines