President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision on the possible lifting or another extension of martial rule in Mindanao would depend on the recommendation of military ground commanders in the region, Malacañang said.
“Depende (It depends),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace media briefing.
“‘Di ba palagi niyang sinasabi, depende ‘yun sa rekomendasyon ng mga ground forces (He always says it depends on the recommendation of ground forces, isn’t it?)” he added.
Panelo could not confirm whether the Commander-in-Chief is once again bent on asking Congress to extend martial law in the southern Philippines.
This comes after presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte sought the lifting of martial law in Davao City.
In a letter sent to the Office of the President on August 7, the mayor requested the city’s exemption from the declaration of military rule.
Panelo believes that the younger Duterte is not seeking “special treatment,” as she is only heeding the recommendation of the Davao police to lift the implementation of martial law in the city.
He likewise stressed that the President has the final say on his daughter’s request.
“Meron silang mga (They have) reasons for so doing. It was even recommended by the regional PNP (Philippine National Police) there. Tingnan natin kung anong magiging position ni Presidente (Let’s see what the President’s position will be),” Panelo said.
The siege laid by the Islamic State-inspired Maute group on May 23, 2017, prompted the Chief Executive to place the whole of Mindanao under martial law.
Section 18, Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution states that a president can declare martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus for a period not exceeding 60 days, in case of invasion or rebellion.
It also provides that such proclamation of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus can either be revoked or extended for a period determined by Congress through joint voting.
Congress extended the initial 60-day martial rule thrice upon the President’s recommendation to help state forces quell the insurgency in Mindanao.
The martial law in the southern part of the country is set to expire on December 31 this year. (PNA)