Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said he is not inclined to recommend another extension of martial law in Mindanao once the third extension ends on December 31.
“We are waiting for the recommendation of the Armed Forces at saka yung (and of the) PNP (Philippine National Police), depende sa kanilang (it will depend on their) recommendation but kung ako lang (as for me), I will not recommend anymore the extension,” he said in an interview Monday.
When asked for his reasons, the DND chief said a stronger Human Security Act is a more viable approach.
“Matagal nang masyado eh (It is already too long). (So that) we can do our job, kaya nga (that is why) especially if the Senate or the Congress can pass the Human Security Act na nabigyan ng konting ngipin yung ating (which will give more teeth to our) law enforcement, then that’s a better arrangement than martial law,” Lorenzana added.
However, the DND chief said he will act accordingly in case the AFP and PNP decide to recommend another extension.
“We’ll see, we’ll evaluate the reasons of the military and the police and act accordingly,” Lorenzana added.
The House of Representatives, voting 235-28-1 in a joint session on Dec. 12, 2018, approved the extension of martial law in Mindanao for the third time until Dec. 31, 2019.
The AFP recommended another year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao in its bid to neutralize terror groups still operating in the southern Philippines.
Lawmakers, in a special joint session in July 2017, granted the extension of martial law until Dec. 31, 2017, at the President’s request.
In December 2017, the Senate and House of Representatives, convening in a joint session, granted President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s second request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period of one year from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018.
Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the Maute Group in Marawi City.