MANILA – The Philippine National Police has formally recommended to the Office of the President the extension of martial law in Mindanao, the proclamation for which had set a 60-day period, to lapse on July 22.
PNP chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said the PNP was constrained to recommend extension because there are still so many loose firearms in Lanao del Sur, particular in Marawi City, which remains a war zone since May 23, when Maute Grou-led terrorists laid siege to the once-bustling Islamic city.
Dela Rosa told reporters on Monday that in their position paper embodying their martial law recommendations, they cited the need to account for “all the loose firearms muna bago natin siguro i-lift yung martial law.”
There is another problem that the PNP thinks can best be overcome under martial law: the plague of narco politicians, whom President Duterte has blamed for providing the wherewithal for terror groups like that led by the Maute brothers Abdullah and Omar.
Dela Rosa said the PNP did not recommend a fixed period for the extension, as they believe such is best left to the President’s judgment.
The PNP position was revealed a day after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana reported that the DND had already given last week its recommendation on the issue of martial law extension.
Lorenzana declined, however, to say what exactly the DND recommended, as he did not wish to preempt the President. Still, the DND was widely expected, along with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), to recommend an extension, given the huge task of ferreting out all the networks that enabled terrorists especially the Maute Group to mount such a fierce campaign against the government.
The Mautes had teamed up with Abu Sayyaf Group subleader Isnilon Hapilon, tagged the Islamic State’s emir for Southeast Asia.