‘Five months or one year or two years is too short,’ according to House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
MANILA, Philippines (Jul. 9, 2017) — Martial law in Mindanao until the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term?
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he wants to “push for an extension” of martial law until 2022, or the end of Duterte’s term, citing the threat of terrorism and insurgency in Mindanao.
“If I can convince my colleagues, I will push for an extension until 2022, because two months is too short. Five months or one year or two years is too short,” Alvarez said in an interview with the Inquirer on Saturday, July 8, days after the Supreme Court (SC) upheld Duterte’s declaration.
Duterte placed the entire Mindanao island under martial law last May 23, after the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups tried to take over Marawi City in Lanao del Sur. The President also suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, giving leeway for soldiers and police to make warrantless arrests.
Both Maute and Abu Sayyaf have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS).
“Let the executive declare it first, then we will look at their grounds,” said Alvarez, when asked by the Inquirer if he were in favor of extending martial law beyond Mindanao.
Duterte himself has said that he has no plans of lifting martial law before his second State of the Nation Address on July 24. The President said it was up to the military and police to assess the situation in war-torn Marawi City.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa said on July 4 that military and police are “inclined” towards recommending an extension of martial law. The spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said the military is finalizing its recommendation and could submit it to Duterte as early as the week of July 10.
Under the 1987 Constitution, martial law stays in place for a maximum of 60 days or July 22 in this case.
If the President wants an extension, he must secure the approval of Congress. Most legislators – both in the Senate and in the House of Representatives – are Duterte allies.