Senators see no need to declare martial law in Sulu
MANILA, Philippines — Several senators see no need to declare martial law in Sulu following the deadly explosions that rocked Jolo on Monday.
Philippine Army chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana earlier said he would formally recommend to the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) placing Sulu under martial law, a move that got the backing of the Philippine National Police.
However, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said there was “no need” to declare martial law in Sulu considering that the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 was now being implemented.
“That was one of the reasons we passed it, we are hoping it will solve the terrorism in Mindanao,” Sotto said in Viber message to reporters on Tuesday.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson shared the Senate president’s view.
“We have passed a strong anti-terrorism law for our security forces to better address terrorism in Mindanao and the rest of the country,” he said in a separate statement.
Enacted last July 3, the anti-terrorism law became effective on July 18.
But Lacson pointed out that the agencies tasked with crafting and issuing the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the law would yet have to do so.
He said the IRR could have given law enforcement agencies and the AFP the “impetus to fully implement the law with efficacy and confidence.”
“With all that said, another declaration of martial law in Mindanao or Sulu may not be necessary,” Lacson added.
Sen. Richard Gordon, likewise, deemed it unnecessary to declare martial law in Sulu.
“I don’t think so, we have enough soldiers there. Sixty percent of the Armed Forces is in Mindanao,” he told reporters in an online interview when sought for comment on the matter.
According to the police, 14 people were killed and 72 individuals were injured in the two separate explosions in Jolo, Sulu.
According to military reports, the first explosion occurred at 11:54 a.m. inside a food shop in Barangay Walled City in Jolo, where a military truck was parked. After an hour, another explosion occurred at the Goteckleng Building which is about a hundred meters away from the location of the first blast.
Sobejana said the two suicide bombers that the military was trailing but lost track of due to the death of its four intelligence officers were responsible for the two explosions that rocked Jolo.
He was referring to the military intelligence officers who were gunned down last June 29.
The slain military men were dispatched by the Joint Intelligence Task Group and the Task Force Sulu after technical intelligence detected the possible location of two female suicide bombers.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.