Lorenzana says he will push for one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao, no nationwide implementation
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Tuesday will recommend a one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao but will not push for nationwide implementation.
Lorenzana, in a TV interview, said Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez told him they will recommend an extension.
"I would follow the recommendation of the chief of staff. I will also recommend the extension of martial law for another year (in) whole of Mindanao," Lorenzana said.
"No, I will not recommend for a nationwide martial law. In fact, the president (Rodrigo Duterte) said maybe (in) many ocassions he is not inclined to declare martial law nationwide," he said.
Lorenzana said some sectors are recommending localized martial law but he thinks it will not work as some areas in Mindanao are contiguous and terrorists can move from one place to another.
"So we want the whole Mindanao under martial law so that we can run after them," he said.
Lorenzana said remnants of the Maute terrorist group in the area are being protected by other local terrorist group. the Bangsamoro Organic Law plebiscite on January 2019 and next year's midterm polls are reasons for recommending extension of martial law in Mindanao.
"There are still terrorists lurking in Mindanao. There are still remnants of Maute, since they are very small it's difficult to look for them and they are still in Central Mindnaao," he said.
"Second is the BOL plebiscite will occur in January 2019 and I think we should be there also to protect the plebiscite- then there's the midterm elections," he added.
On the case of former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo and his colleagues, Lorenzana said this is not a form of abuse under martial law.
"I don't think so. What abuse are they talking about? Just because they were caught transporting minors illegally? That's not abuse, that's trying to perform our mandate. Police's mandate to protect the people, these kids," he said.
Lorenzana said authorities and even local government officials claimed these kids were forcibly taken from their communities.
He said the group of Ocampo will only use the children for "propaganda". Ella Dionisio/DMS