Martial law to be extended 'only when warranted' - defense chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 11 2017 10:52 AM | Updated as of Jul 11 2017 10:53 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte should resort to extending martial law in Mindanao "only when warranted by our national security circumstances," the martial law administrator said Tuesday.

"While we respect the position of our lawmakers and laud their support to the military, we believe that the declaration of martial law is an extraordinary power of the President as Commander-in-Chief that must be resorted to only when warranted by our national security circumstances," martial law administrator and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a statement.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier proposed to extend the martial law proclamation for 5 more years, or until Duterte's term ends in 2022.

"Our Constitution has prescribed limitations precisely to prevent its being abused as it has implications to the country's peace and order, economy, trade, tourism, and our people's way of life," Lorenzana said.

The Defense chief did not directly say whether he is for or against the proposed 5-year extension of military rule in Mindanao, as the military "will follow whatever path will be laid out by the national government."

"The Filipino people can rest assured, however, that if martial law is extended, they can continue to trust their defense and security establishments since every decision we make and operation we undertake is anchored on the rule of law and respect for human rights," Lorenzana said.

Last week, Duterte said the martial law extension depends on the recommendation of security officials.

On Monday, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said martial law until 2022 is "too long."

Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under military rule in May after the Maute terrorist group wreaked havoc and tried to overrun Marawi City.

The declaration's 60-day validity is set to expire on June 22, two days before Duterte's second state of the nation address.