Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana declines to disclose his recommendation ‘so as not to preempt’ President Rodrigo Duterte
MANILA, Philippines (Jul. 16, 2017) — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed on Sunday, July 16, that he has submitted to Malacañang his recommendation on whether or not to extend martial law in Mindanao, but declined to give further details “so as not to preempt the President.”
The Department of National Defense (DND) said the recommendation was made to President Rodrigo Duterte last Thursday, July 13.
The 60-day period of the martial law in Mindanao is set to expire on July 22 – two days ahead of Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA).
“We have submitted our position on martial law in Mindanao to the President,” a DND statement quoted Lorenzana as saying.
“We will have to wait for the President’s final decision on the matter. What I submitted to him was my recommendation from the security sector as administrator of martial law in Mindanao after consulting with [Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Eduardo Año]. The President has a lot more to consider.”
Lorenzana said Duterte will still have to think about feedback from the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), other national government agencies, as well as Mindanaoans.
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa earlier said the military and the police are inclined to recommend the extension of martial law, but later added that they might ask the President to limit its scope.
Duterte will also meet with leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Monday, July 17, with martial law believed to be on the agenda.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said he wants martial law to be implemented in Mindanao for 5 more years, but the military said that is “too long.”
Duterte declared martial law in the entire Mindanao after fighting ensued between the military and the terrorist Maute Group in Marawi City on May 23.
Petitions against martial law were filed before the Supreme Court, but the SC upheld the proclamation in a vote of 11-3-1.
The government has missed self-imposed deadlines to end the crisis in Marawi City, which entered its 55th day on Sunday. Over 500 people have been killed, mostly terrorists, and more than 400,000 people displaced from their homes.