'A lot of senators' keen on extending 'limited' martial law: Ejercito

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 11 2017 08:47 PM | Updated as of Jul 11 2017 08:48 PM

A lot of senators will "most likely" grant the extension of martial law as government forces are almost at the final stages of ending the siege in Marawi City, Senator JV Ejercito said Tuesday.

"No commitments as of this time but most likely, a lot of the senators are keen on granting the extension," Ejercito said in a phone interview on ANC's Top Story.

Local and Interior Government Secretary Catalino Cuy and Philippine National Police Chief, Director General Ronald Dela Rosa gave senators a status briefing Tuesday to convince lawmakers to extend the imposition of martial law in Mindanao.

"Most likely, we will grant the extension. We are talking about limiting it maybe in Marawi or Lanao, but the PNP is recommending (limiting to) 4 regions. That is almost the whole of Mindanao. That we want to deliberate," Ejercito said.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed Mindanao under martial rule in May after the Maute terrorist group wreaked havoc in Marawi city in a bid to establish a "wilayat" or a province for the Islamic State.

The declaration's 60-day validity will lapse on July 22, two days before the president's second State of the Nation Address.

Senators are still waiting to receive a briefing from military officials before deciding on the details of the extension, but Ejercito said the legislative branch is giving the security cluster bonus points for not committing abuses while military rule remained in place.

"Even the Commission on Human Rights said there was no report of human rights violations (under martial law in Mindanao). That will be very essential," he said.