MANILA - The Armed Forces vowed Wednesday that it will not abuse its authority following the martial law declaration in Mindanao.
"Igagalang po natin ang karapatang pantao at atin pong kikilalanin ang umiiral na batas. Hindi po tayo aabuso sa pagpapatupad natin," Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Colonel Edgard Arevalo said in a chance interview.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law after militants inspired by the Islamic State torched buildings in Marawi on Tuesday, sparking skirmishes that left 3 security forces killed and 12 others hurt.
Under the Constitution, the President may declare martial law in cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it. The declaration allows warrantless arrests and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
Arevalo revealed the Army has yet to receive a written directive on their possible additional powers, but said these will only be exercised against terror suspects and their sympathizers.
He also vowed that the state will crush extremist forces in Marawi before the 60-day period of martial law expires.
"Hindi po tayo nag-iisip na aabot ito ng 60 araw. The intent of the security forces is to conclude this rapidly upang sa ganoon ay maibalik natin ang normalcy sa lugar na iyan," he said.
The official urged the public to stay calm amid heightened military presence and checkpoint operations.