Duterte says he won’t lift martial law before Sona
President Rodrigo Duterte has hinted that he might extend his martial law in Mindanao as he won’t lift his declaration before his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 24.
The 60-day limit of the President’s martial law decree will end on July 22, two days before he delivers his second Sona.
In an interview in Davao City after an unannounced visit at the 2nd mechanized Infantry Brigade in Iligan City on Friday, Duterte said he won’t lift martial law in Mindanao before his Sona.
“No,” he answered when asked if martial law would be lifted before his Sona.
He reiterated that he would rely on the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) whether to lift or extend his martial law.
He said he consulted with the military and they said the situation in conflict-torn Marawi City was still “critical.”
“I consulted them and said it was critical. Ang magsabi sa akin na hindi na critical, ang Armed Forces pati ang pulis (Only the Armed Forces and the police can tell me if it is no longer critical),” he said.
“So, I have just to rely on the word of the Armed Forces and the police because they are the one keeping this Republic healthy and alive,” he added.
The chief executive said he does not “have an independent study” of the situation of the ground.
“It’s not my job. And I cannot do it physically even,” he said.
“’Pag sinabi nila wala nang delikado and everything is okay, then that is the time that we will lift the martial law,” he added.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., AFP Spokesperson, on Friday said the military would give its recommendation to Duterte as early as next week.
“Regarding the recommendation whether to extend or stop the implementation of martial law, the assessment is not yet done. The recommendation for the commander in chief needs basis,” he said in Filipino.
“Its assessment or study is still ongoing. We can submit this next week or before the 60-day limit lapses,” he added.
The President, he said, was “expecting” the recommendation before his Sona.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao amid the month-long fighting between government forces and Islamic State-inspired extremists. IDL
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