Panelo says no to expanding scope of martial law in Mindanao
Amid the ongoing counterterrorism operations in Marawi City, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on Thursday that expanding the scope of martial law in Mindanao was unnecessary.
“You don’t have to expand the [martial law] coverage because when you suspend the privilege of the writ, then wherever you are, you can be arrested,” Panelo told reporters.
He said the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, which is part of the declaration of martial law as indicated in the Constitution, allows civilian groups to arrest anyone who commits a crime related to the rebellion in Marawi, even if that particular person is outside Mindanao.
But Panelo said in a previous statement that expanding the scope of martial law in Mindanao would make it easier for President Rodrigo Duterte to go after drug syndicates allegedly funding the operations of the Maute Group.
“What the President is saying is that the rebellion is funded by drug money. So, if you relate that and the rebel groups expand their assault in the nearby provinces, then there would be a basis for expanding the declaration of martial law,” he told reporters.
As for another proclamation of martial law once the 60-day limit is met on June 22, Panelo said Duterte may redeclare the military rule if he “feels” the need to.
“I don’t think there is a provision in the Constitution that says you can only declare martial law once. Otherwise, you will be tying the president’s hands in quelling the rebellion,” he added. Winona Sadia, INQUIRER.net trainee
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