PRESIDENT Duterte is expected to announce anytime if he would lift or seek the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President’s decision would be made as soon as he completes his study of the recommendation to prolong martial law in the south.
“He will announce his decision today or tomorrow. He is still studying. Wait for the announcement,” Panelo said, adding that the President is likely to declare an extension of martial law.
Martial law was declared in Mindanao in May 2017 to quell threats of rebellion and lawless violence following the terror siege in Marawi City. Congress had approved the President’s previous request to extend martial law until December 31, 2018.
The President recently said his decision on the martial law situation in Mindanao would depend on the recommendation of the military and the police.
“They are the guys on the ground. I’m here in Pasig River. I am not aware of the nitty-gritty happenings all over the country,” Duterte told Palace reporters Monday.
Both the military and police have reportedly recommended to the President a yearlong extension of martial law to help address lingering terror threats in the region.
Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday said she will not oppose the extension of martial law if the President asks for it.
In an interview, Arroyo said they are waiting for the formal letter from Malacanang about the extension of the martial law in Mindanao.
“If it comes to our Chamber, I will recommend that we pass it,” Arroyo said.
Earlier, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) said they will recommend to President Rodrigo Duterte the extension of martial rule for another one year.
To date however there is no formal request from the military and police. Malacanang said it will most likely be recommended to Congress.
House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. also said that there is a big chance for the martial law extension but it will first undergo debates in Congress.
Congress has only three session days left before the Christmas break. Session will resume on the third week of January 2019.
“If the President will ask for it, then chances are it shall be given,” Andaya said.
AFP Chief General Carlito Galvez said their recommendation of prescribing another year of martial law in Mindanao will be submitted as soon as possible to the Secretary of Department of National Defense.
Meanwhile Andaya asked the AFP and PNP to assure the public that they will continue to respect the Constitutional rights of the Filipinos amid martial rule.
“The concurrence will be expedited if the military and the police will renew their commitment to respect the constitutional rights of every individual in the territory covered by the declaration,” Andaya said.
Andaya also said, during the debates, the opinions of the Mindanaoan solons will be considered.
With Jester P. Manalastas