Martial law in Mindanao? No cause for alarm, says Pimentel

MANILA, Philippines – Don't worry about it.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, who's from Mindanao, said President Rodrigo Duterte's threat to declare martial law in Mindanao is premised on the "need for it" and would likely – in case it happens – be only in areas "which need to be put under control."

The President on Thursday, March 9, that he will be "forced" to declare martial law in Mindanao if violence in the region worsens.

"Either tulungan 'nyo ako (you help me) or I will declare martial law tomorrow for Mindanao," Duterte told Mindanao local officials in Davao City. "I am pleading with you because I do not want the trouble in Mindanao to spin out of control because then, as President, I will be forced, I will be compelled to exercise extraordinary powers. You've had experience with martial law and it could be a brutal war," he said.

Duterte had threatened to declare martial law in the country in the past, only to withdraw it later. (READ: Understanding Duterte's martial law remarks)

Asked to comment on the President's latest statement, Pimentel, a staunch ally of Duterte, said there's "no need to be alarmed."

He said that if the President ever makes that decision it would only be out of a desire to "bring back normalcy and sense of order" in certain areas in Mindanao.

Duterte made the statement more than a week after the Abu Sayyaf beheaded its German hostage

While the Supreme Court may oppose his martial law declaration, he implied that Congress may support his move.

"The Supreme Court might not agree with me but you must remember that Congress, a political body, and congressmen there will be forced to face the issue squarely," he said.

Duterte gave some details of his supposed martial law plan for the region as well as its potential basis. The President said he was prompted to make the appeal and warning after reading thick briefers about violence in Mindanao.

He spoke of a bombing of a school in Zamboanga and numerous occasions of grenade attacks in Central Mindanao.

If he declares martial law, it may "last for 20 days or one year," depending on the Mindanao situation, he said. –