Duterte’s top security adviser says ML extension ‘justified’
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. would recommend that martial law be extended until the end of the year.
In an ambush interview on Wednesday, Esperon said: “I’m OK with martial law in the same area and 60 days, but it’s better for me if we go the whole length of the year.”
But regardless of the length, Esperon said extending martial law was “justified.”
Esperon said martial law was necessary for the government to restore peace and stability in Mindanao.
The national security adviser, along with Defense Secretary and martial law administrator Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Eduardo Año, attended a closed-door security briefing with the senators on Wednesday morning.
President Duterte has asked Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2017.
Among issues to be tacked in the briefing with the senators was the terrorism situation in Mindanao, particularly in the besieged city of Marawi, and whether an extension of martial law would be needed to contain terrorists in the region.
Asked what he would raise in the briefing, Esperon said: “Number one, from a security perspective, we must shepherd our peace processes with the (Moro Islamic Liberation Front). They just submitted the new Bangsamoro Basic Law. We must also shepherd our peace process with the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) if we have to go through peace process or not… So peace process, because without peace and stability we would not achieve our aspirations for Mindanao.”
Restoration of transportation and infrastructure in Mindanao — railways, roads, bridges, seaports other developments — will also be discussed in the meeting, said Esperon.
“These can best be taken in an atmosphere of peace and stability,” he said.
The briefing at the Senate Lounge started shortly after 9 a.m. It was still ongoing as of 11 a.m. CBB