MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) hailed the decision of the Supreme Court upholding President Rodrigo Duterte's martial law declaration in Mindanao.
AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the high court's decision boosts the morale of troops deployed in Mindanao, particularly those fighting in Marawi City.
"The troops in the field together with the ground commanders will be very happy to hear about this. To all those operating in the rest of Mindanao, their actions are affirmed," he told ANC Tuesday.
Despite the Supreme Court decision, martial law is set to expire in 17 days, 60 days after it was declared. It will be up to the Congress if martial law in Mindanao will be extended or not.
Asked if the military is keen on recommending the extension of martial law in the southern Philippine island, Padilla said they are still assessing the situation.
However, the military official noted that even if they win the battle for Marawi, the threat of extremism remains. "We still have the whole Mindanao to attend to," he said.
56 ARRESTS MADE DURING MARTIAL LAW
The military official said since martial law was declared, authorities have arrested 56 people allegedly involved in the ongoing conflict in Marawi.
"I think the other day there were several arrests that were made which did not require any arrest order or search warrant. This is what makes having martial law a good thing for arresting these [alleged rebels]," he said.
But former Ateneo School of Government dean Atty. Tony La Viña quickly corrected the military spokesperson, saying the warrantless arrest he claims were not based on martial law but on the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus.
"That's not really martial law but the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus. That's going to be challenged when a case is filed because rebellion is actually a bailable crime," said La Viña who was on the set during Padilla's interview.
For his part, Padilla said those charged with rebellion are also facing other cases such as illegal possession of firearms.