MANILA — Malacañang on Monday stressed that the decision to extend martial law rests on President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Extending martial law is the decision of the President which PRRD said would rest on the assessment and the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other stakeholders of the Marawi situation,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
His statement was issued following remarks by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who said that he would push for a five-year extension of martial law.
“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 Saturday.
However, Abella pointed out that the Speaker has already clarified that “his remarks to extend martial law until 2022 is his personal opinion.”
In the meantime, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is already finalizing its recommendations on the possible extension or lifting of martial law.
“It’s already being done and in a few days it will be submitted to the (Executive) Secretary for his consideration because he is the administrator of martial law. And that recommendation will make its way up to the Commander-in-Chief who will be provided an advance copy,” AFP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Resituto Padilla Jr. said during the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañang.
He said that the final assessment would be based on whether the rule of law as well as peace and security in most parts of Mindanao had been reestablished.
The AFP official likewise stressed however that whatever recommendations the military submit, the final decision is up to President Duterte.
“The Department of National Defense or the AFP could only recommend, pero ang eventual decision ay kinakailangang manggaling sa political leadership na merong mas malawak na pinag-iisipang o pinagbabatayan ng kanilang desisyon,” Padilla said.
Duterte declared martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao on May 23 following an attack by the Islamic State-inspired Maute group in Marawi City.
Under the 1987 Constitution, martial law could only be declared for a 60-day period, in this case up to July 22.
Any extension of the declaration should be done with the consent of Congress.