Arroyo supports possible martial law extension in Mindanao

MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo supports the proposal to extend the declaration of martial law in Mindanao after a deadly bombing in Sultan Kudarat.

"I support martial law in Mindanao. I'll support what the President does because I've been president and I believe that he does not need a peanut gallery to tell him what to do," said Arroyo in a chance interview in Floridablanca, Pampanga, on Thursday, August 30.

The former president turned Pampanga 2nd District representative was asked to react to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea floating the option to extend martial law after a bombing in Isulan town killed 3 people, among them a 7-year-old boy, and wounded 37 others on Tuesday, August 28. 

Medialdea said he would "not necessarily" recommend another martial law extension, but it is an option being considered since the recent bombing is a worrisome development.

The entire region of Mindanao is currently under martial law until December 31 this year. If martial law is again extended, it would be the 3rd extension since President Rodrigo Duterte first proclaimed martial law in the region on May 23, 2017, due to the Marawi siege.

'If Duterte asks, it shall be given'

House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya said that if Duterte asks for another extension of martial law, "it shall be given" by the 17th Congress. 

"The declaration of martial law is the call of the executive. The President declares or extends, Congress concurs. If the President will ask for it, then it shall be given," said Andaya. 

Still, the Camarines Sur 1st District representative suggested that Malacañang meet with the National Security Council or the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council to discuss the progress of the ongoing rehabilitation of Marawi City as well as the implementation of the Bangsamoro Organic Law.  

Andaya said it is crucial for the people of Mindanao to be consulted, too.

"In the House, the inputs and views of the Mindanao bloc are important. As they say, those in or around ground zero should be consulted. Civilian views should be part of the discussion," said Andaya in a mix of English and Filipino. 

Vice President Leni Robredo is against extending martial law, saying it has so far failed to stop terrorist activities in Mindanao. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also does not recommend an extension, for now.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde, however, is open to extending martial law in Mindanao. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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