Lorenzana not keen on new martial law extension
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is not inclined to recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte another extension of martial law in Mindanao.
“If it were up to me, I will not recommend anymore the extension,” Lorenzana said on the sidelines of Monday’s sendoff ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City for participants in the 30th Southeast Asian Games.
Martial law “has been going on for too long,” he said. Its third extension is until Dec. 31 this year.
The President issued Proclamation No. 216 declaring martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017, after the Islamic State-inspired Maute group attacked Marawi City.
Military rule was initially valid for 60 days, but the President succeeded in asking Congress to extend it three times.
Lorenzana said another extension would not be necessary if Congress amended the Human Security Act.
“It (amendments) would be a better arrangement,” he pointed out.
He told reporters that he was still waiting for the recommendation of the police and the military.
Should the military or police recommend another extension, Lorenzana said “we’ll evaluate the reasons of the military and the police and act accordingly.”
In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President would consider the recommendation of Lorenzana.
Asked at a press briefing to comment on the defense secretary’s remarks that he may not propose extending martial law, Panelo said, “The President always says that he will defer to the advice or the recommendation of those on the ground.”
Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the military would have to consult local governments in Mindanao on the matter, saying they and the local military commanders were fully aware of the situation in the region.
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