By Raynan F. Javil, Reporter

AFP may release martial law recommendation next week

Posted on July 08, 2017

THE Philippine military may release its recommendation on whether to extend or lift martial law in Mindanao as early as next week, its spokesperson said.

In this photo taken on June 10, 2017, police officers are seen outside a hospital in Iligan after they brought in the body of one of four suspected Maute members, who were killed by unidentified gunmen in an ambush on the police convoy they were being transported on at the boundary of Pantar and Balo-i in Mindanao. AFP
The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) assessment of the Mindanao situation remains ongoing, its spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto F. Padilla, Jr. said. He also maintained that President Rodrigo R. Duterte is expecting the recommendation before the 60-day period of the martial law implementation ends.

Martial law in Mindanao is expected to end on July 22, or two days before the second State of the Nation Address of Mr. Duterte on July 24.

“About the implementation whether to extend or lift the implementation of martial law, we have not yet finished the assessment. It needs to have basis before we recommend it to the commander-in-chief,” Mr. Padilla told reporters in Malacañang yesterday. “(So we can give it maybe next week or before the 60-day period of implementation ends),” said Mr. Padilla.

Clashes between the government forces and pro-Islamic State (IS) Maute militants broke out in Marawi City on May 23, triggering one of the biggest internal security crises in the Philippines in years.

Following the clashes, Mr. Duterte issued Proclamation 216 and placed the entire Mindanao and its islands under martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus there. The move was undertaken to foil what he said was Maute’s plan to establish a caliphate for IS in Marawi.

Several petitions challenging the sufficiency of the factual basis of the martial law declaration were filed before the Supreme Court.

However, the high court dismissed the petitions and upheld the Proclamation 216, saying that the President holds the “discretion to determine the territorial scope” of martial law.

Meanwhile, House Majority Leader Rodolfo C. Fariñas said that he will support the extension of martial law should Mr. Duterte asks for it.

“If the President requests Congress to extend his proclamation or suspension on the ground of rebellion is still persisting and public safety requires it, I shall support him,” Mr. Fariñas told reporters in a mobile phone message yesterday. “President has shown that he is true to his oath to support and defend the Constitution, and our people continue to express their trust and confidence in him,” he added.

Under the Constitution, the House of Representatives and Senate convening jointly -- upon the initiative of the President -- may extend the martial law proclamation “for a period to be determined by the Congress.”