Top security officials brief senators on Mindanao situation

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 10 2018 01:00 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's top security officials, in a closed-door meeting Monday, briefed senators about the situation in Mindanao in a bid to extend martial law in the south.

Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, military chief General Carlito Galvez Jr., Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, and national police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde's representative attended the meeting.

Senators Panfilo Lacson, Gringo Honasan, Migz Zubiri, Nancy Binay, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Koko Pimentel, Cynthia Villar, Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, and Franklin Drilon were at the meeting.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles was also in the closed-door briefing to represent the Office of the President.

Speaking with ABS-CBN News, Nograles said the briefing about the situation in Mindanao was held upon "upon the invitation" of Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III.

The Palace earlier said President Rodrigo Duterte already approved the military and police's recommendation to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2019.

The military and police chiefs said martial law will enable their men to move against "lawless violence" that persists in the country's restive south.

Duterte first declared martial law in Mindanao when the siege of Marawi erupted in May 2017. Congress extended the initially 60-day martial law until the end of that year.

Before 2017 ended, Congress again granted Duterte's request to extend martial law until December 31, 2018 to quell alleged terrorist threats.