Thursday, 27 July, 2017

President urged to extend martial law in Philippines

President urged to extend martial law in Philippines President urged to extend martial law in Philippines
Melinda Barton | 18 July, 2017, 05:05

President Rodrigo Duterte is asking Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao for 60 days and called for a special joint session this weekend to deliberate on this, a Senate leader said Monday evening.

Police chief Ronald dela Rosa told reporters on Monday that last Friday they submitted "position papers expressing their stand on the extension of the martial law", which began on May 23, but did not say how long the extension would be.

Mr Duterte is also set to decide within the week whether to extend military rule over Mindanao.

"That is why we have decided in the past that only our best men and women should be allowed to operate in critical areas such as Marawi City and elsewhere in Mindanao, and that our Muslim brothers and sisters should not be singled out in our operations since terrorism goes beyond any religion or creed", he added.

Officials say more than 550 people, including 411 militants, have been killed in almost two months of fighting in Marawi, a bastion of Islamic faith in the south.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana had earlier confirmed the submission of their recommendation to Duterte.

AFP Chief-of-Staff Eduardo Año, in an interview in Camp Aguinaldo yesterday, said that while he can not disclose the contents of the AFP's recommendation, he said the AFP will support whatever decision the President makes.

Anakpawis partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao said, "Anakpawis will consistently register its opposition if ever the President requests Congress for the extension of martial law".

MAJORITY of Filipinos (57 percent) support Martial Law in Mindanao, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey. Should Duterte want it extended, he must secure the approval of Congress, which is composed mostly of his allies.

Proclamation 216, which declared martial law, will lapse on July 22 in line with the 60-day limit under the Constitution.

The President will call the Congress to a Special Session on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017, at 9am, to consider the extension of Martial Law.

"'Yung mga identified na mga (The identified) narco-politicians who are believed to be supporting the cause of the Maute Group are still at large". We still have to account [for] them.

Alongside the declaration of martial law, Duterte suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, giving more leeway for military and police to enforce warrantless arrests. "Hulihin muna natin sila (We must catch them first)", said Dela Rosa, when asked about the reasons for their recommendation.