Drilon backs martial law extension, but not until year-end


Posted at Jul 20 2017 08:30 AM | Updated as of Jul 20 2017 08:58 AM

Soldiers store seized combat weapons in bags after a news conference, as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group in Marawi, July 4, 2017. Jorge Silva, Reuters

MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday backed a proposal to extend President Rodrigo Duterte's martial law declaration in Mindanao but not if it will be stretched until the end of the year.

Drilon said he backs the requested extension because the government has yet to quell the terrorist rampage in the southern city of Marawi. He added there are no reports of human rights violations under the martial rule.

But extending martial law until December 31, as requested by Duterte may be unnecessary since security officials have said that the Marawi crisis may soon end, the senator said.

"Sa aking tingin ay masyadong malawak ang hanggang December 31 dahil sa mga public statement ng ating national security sector, malapit na ika nila matapos," Drilon told radio DZMM.

He added that martial law should be limited to Marawi, where the actual fighting is ongoing.

"In so far as kung gaano kalawak, Marawi lang naman ang may rebellion at sa ating Saligang Batas, kailangan actual ang rebellion, hindi lang threat. Kaya hindi kailangan na buong Mindanao ang dapat ilagay sa ilalim ng martial law," he said.

"Kailangan limited ang application at ang time."

Duterte's 60-day martial law will lapse on July 22. He has called for a joint congressional session on this date in a bid to extend the declaration.

Congress, dominated by the President's allies, will likely approve the proposed martial rule extension after debating on its duration and extent on Saturday, Drilon said.