MANILA, Philippines – The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that while the military and police want an extension of martial law in Mindanao, this time around they might limit its scope.
“Baka mabawasan siguro. Nag-uusap kami baka mabawasan or buong Mindanao pa rin,” Dela Rosa said Thursday, July 13, on the sidelines of a gun show opening in Mandaluyong City.
(We might reduce its scope. [AFP chief General Eduardo Año] and I spoke about the possibility of reducing its scope or martial law over the whole of Mindanao still.)
Dela Rosa reiterated they would be asking for an extension of martial law, based on his last conversation with Año.
“Gagawa pa kami ng position paper, bukas siguro ma-submit namin,” he added. (We are working on a position paper. We’ll submit it tomorrow.)
Davao City’s biggest business group recently asked the government to lift martial law in President Rodrigo Duterte’s home city. (READ: Duterte asked to lift martial law in Davao City)
“We hope for an expeditious conclusion to the conflict or a scenario where the area covered by martial law is reduced,” said Ronald Go, president of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Incorporated (DCCCII) in a statement sent last Tuesday, July 11.
Dela Rosa did not say for how long they want martial law extended. For police, he told reporters, martial law is important for “investigative reasons.”
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez had earlier said he wants martial law extended until 2022. Both the PNP and AFP leadership have expressed apprehension over that suggestion.
Duterte placed the entire Mindanao island under martial law on May 23, after homegrown terror groups tried to take over Marawi City. He also suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, which gives police and military more leeway to enforce warrantless arrests.
Fighting in Marawi City has stretched on for nearly two months.
Under the Constitution, martial law is in place for a maximum of 60 days, or on July 22 in this case. Should the President want to extend it, he has to get the approval of Congress.
Both houses of Congress – the Senate and House of Representatives – are dominated by Duterte allies.
The Supreme Court recently upheld Duterte’s declaration. – Rappler.com