Philippine Army chief Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana said on Sunday, August 30, that he was withdrawing his recommendation to put Sulu under martial law after recent twin bombings in the province.
“I drop my recommendation for martial law declaration over Sulu despite the turmoil, as there might be other better options,” Sobejana said in a statement on Sunday.
“Besides, I always give due respect to the wisdom of our national leadership and the sentiment of the general public, but I felt it appropriate to share with you that the military had displayed utmost professionalism and maturity during our martial law implementation in Sulu when I was the Joint Task Force Sulu Commander in 2017,” he added.
The twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu, killed at least 14 people and injured 75 others on Monday, August 24.
Sobejana on Tuesday, August 25, recommended putting Sulu under martial law “to better control the situation.”
The Philippine National Police backed his proposal, but Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana rejected it, saying the Philippines already has the recently signed anti-terror law while a 2016 proclamation still places Mindanao under a state of lawlessness.
Martial law had been declared in the whole island group of Mindanao on May 23, 2017, after terrorists linked to the Islamic State laid siege to Marawi City, but this declaration was already lifted on December 31, 2019.
Martial law is an especially sensitive issue in the Philippines as it brings back memories of military rule under dictator Ferdinand Marcos, which was marred by forced disappearances and human rights abuses. – Rappler.com