Palace thanks martial law supporters in Senate

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2017 02:59 PM

Smoke billows at the site of fighting between government soldiers and Maute group, near a mosque in Marawi City in southern Philippines May 30, 2017. Erik De Castro, Reuters Charles LeClaire, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

MANILA – Malacañang on Tuesday thanked 15 senators for expressing their support to President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao.

“We thank the Senate for its resolution expressing support to the President's declaration of martial law in Mindanao. The President has acted swiftly and decisively to suppress the ongoing rebellion in Marawi and to prevent its spread in the provinces of Mindanao,” said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a statement.

“However, the executive branch cannot do it alone. We need the cooperation of the entire government and the support of our people to finally flush out the evil forces, restore normalcy, and bring peace to the island of Mindanao.”

Duterte, through Proclamation 216, placed the entire Mindanao island under martial rule last Tuesday after terrorist groups torched several buildings in Marawi, clashed with state troops and abducted some civilians.

Filed Monday, Senate Resolution 388 said the acts committed by the Maute group was an attempt to remove part of Mindanao from allegiance to the Philippine government, an act that constituted the crime of rebellion, a ground for declaring martial law.

"The Senate finds the issuance of Proclamation No. 216 to be satisfactory, constitutional and accordance with the law. The Senate hereby supports fully Proclamation No. 216 and finds no compelling reason to revoke the same," the resolution read.

Those who introduced the resolution were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Senators Vicente "Tito" Castelo Sotto III, Ralph Recto, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Emmanuel Pacquiao, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar, and Juan Miguel Zubiri.

Opposition senators who did not sign the resolution are set to give a press conference later Tuesday.

Five senators from the minority bloc -- Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV and Bam Aquino -- earlier sought a joint Congressional session to tackle the martial law declaration.

The fighting in Marawi has killed dozens, mostly Maute rebels. The Philippine military said on Monday it was close to retaking Marawi.