‘Still too early’ for President to ask for martial law extension
Despite the two bomb blasts that killed a total of 14 people in Basilan and Sultan Kudarat in less than a month, Malacañang said it was still premature to discuss the possible extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque noted that martial law on the island would not lapse until December.
“It’s still too early if the President [will ask] Congress to extend martial law there, and this will be based on the military’s recommendation,” he said.
Earlier, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the possible extension of military rule in Mindanao was an option after Tuesday’s blast in Sultan Kudarat that killed three people and injured 36 several others.
Mindanao was placed under martial law in May 2017 after Islamic State-inspired jihadi groups laid siege to Marawi City. This was extended to last until December 31 this year.
Medialdea’s remark has drawn criticisms from lawmakers and human rights groups.
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay reminded Mr. Duterte that about 70,000 Filipinos fell victims to human rights violations during the Marcos-era martial law.
“With how his administration has been running, it seems that Mr. Duterte would eclipse this number before his term ends,” Hilbay said. —REPORTS FROM JULIE M. AURELIO AND MARLON RAMOS