Palace: Martial law extension depends on AFP
Malacañang said on Wednesday President Rodrigo Duterte would wait for the military’s full report and security assessment before deciding on whether to ask Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella assured the nation that Mr. Duterte’s decision would be for the national interest, law and order, and the safety of the entire country.
“The President has repeatedly stressed that the Philippines abides by the rule of law, and extending martial law would be based solely on the assessment and recommendation of the military and the police,” Abella said.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has already recommended an extension.
The reports from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año on the situation in Marawi and Mindanao would have to be considered before Mr. Duterte “initiates any action” on any proposal to extend martial law and continue the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, Abella said.
“We assure all our citizens that the primordial consideration of our Commander in Chief is the national interest,” Abella said.
“He is also for the immediate restoration of the rule of law, peace, order, and the overall safety and well-being of our citizens not only in Marawi but in the whole of country,” he added.
Dela Rosa said on Tuesday he had recommended an extension of martial law to senators.
He did not specify the extension period, saying only that it should be “within the legal framework.”
“I’m [thinking] the maximum [period] that it could be extended because the situation there is still dangerous,” Dela Rosa said.
“We are just on the implementing side,” he said. “That’s policy…It’s up to the senators if it’s five years, two years, six months or six days.”
The President declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 after Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists laid siege to Marawi City.
More than 500 people have been killed in nearly two months of fighting between the Islamic State-inspired gunmen and government forces.
The 60-day martial law period expires on July 22, two days before the President’s State of the Nation Address.
Under the constitution, any extension of martial law would have to be approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
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