The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has recommended the extension of martial law in Mindanao for one year, a security official said Thursday.
A highly placed source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the ground commanders have supported the martial law extension.
“The recommendations came from them tapos umakyat kay CSAFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff), halos lahat (ng ground commanders) naman sila kelangan nila ng martial law at this time they are for it,” the source said.
(The recommendations came from them and then forwarded to the AFP chief of staff, almost all of the ground commanders actually need martial law and at this time they are for it.)
The officials are after the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in order to make arrests of individuals immediately.
When the writ is suspended, authorities can make arrests to those “judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with the invasion.”
“Kelangan nila yung mechanism na yun lalo na yung suspension ng writ—that is the important component. Kasi spur of the moment yan e…..without martial you cannot do that,” he said.
(They need that mechanism especially the suspension of writ—that is the important component.)
The source also cited the reported ongoing recruitment of local ISIS-linked fighters as one of the factors in recommending the extension. While the recruitment is still unverified, the source said it is only logical.
The merging of communist rebels, who have stepped up its offensives against security forces, and the ISIS-linked terrorists are also likely.
“I think it’s going to be a marriage of convenience. Ang NPA (New People’s Army) naghahanap yan ng kakampi,” the source said.
(The NPA will likely look for an ally.)
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, when Maute-ISIS fighters attacked Marawi City. The 60-day promulgation ended last July 22, but was later extended by Congress until Dec. 31, this year.
The source said they are confident that Duterte will approve the AFP’s recommendation.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters early this week that the recommendation on the fate of martial law in Mindanao was submitted to the President last Monday. /jpv