MANILA – With public support, President Rodrigo Duterte may again push for a third extension of martial law in Mindanao, Malacañang said.
The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines affirmed their support for the one-year extension as the military cited the “lurking” threat of terrorism in the region.
“The President will always evaluate whatever recommendations the AFP and the PNP will give him,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo told a news conference Monday.
“Given the support of martial law in Mindanao, even by a Catholic bishop and the citizens there, the President may be persuaded … to approve their recommendation,” Panelo said.
A further extension of the military rule will be subject to the approval of Congress.
The martial law has been extended twice already, with the last one set to expire by year-end.
According to Panelo, public safety will be Duterte’s primary consideration in deciding whether or not to push for another extension.
“If the threat remains and there is still an ongoing rebellion, then constitutionally the basis would be valid for the continuation of martial law,” the presidential spokesman said.
Duterte himself had touted the effectiveness of martial law in Mindanao despite the bombings that rocked the region this year.
On Sept. 11 the President said martial rule has been a deterrent against crime.
But his critics, led by Vice President Leni Robredo, rejected claims of improvement in peace and order and said another extension was unnecessary. (GMA News)