Duterte may approve military, police recommendations to further extend martial law in Mindanao, Panelo says
President Rodrigo Duterte is likely to approve the recommendation of the government security forces to further extend martial law declaration, which is set to expire by the end of this month, in Mindanao.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte would evaluate whatever the recommendations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
"But given the support of martial law in Mindanao, even by a Catholic bishop and the citizens there, the President may be persuaded to go on to approve the recommendation. But of course, again, that is the prerogative of the President," he said.
The leadership of both the military and the police have already said that they would recommend to Duterte to further prolong the imposition of martial rule in southern Philippines.
Panelo said Duterte would always consider the safety of the people on whatever decision he would make.
"If the threat remains and there is still an ongoing rebellion, then, constitutionally, the basis would be valid for continuation of martial law," he said.
Once Duterte upholds the recommendation of the PNP and AFP, under the Constitution, he has to seek congressional concurrence.
Panelo said it would be up to Congress if it would support further implementation of martial law.
"Again, the Constitution grants them the authority to decide whether or not it will extend martial law. So we'll leave it to them," he said.
Duterte placed the whole of Mindanao under martial law when the Maute-ISIS terrorists started to occupy Marawi City on May 23, 2017.
With the proposal of the state forces, Duterte, with the concurrence of Congress, approved to extend martial law until December 31 this year due to rebellion in Mindanao. Celerina Monte/DMS