5-year martial law may be too long, says military spokesman
An imposition of martial law for five years in Mindanao may be too long, a military spokesman said on Monday.
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr of the Armed Forces of the Philippines was reacting to the statement of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that martial rule could be extended up to 2022, the end of President Rodrigo Duterte's term.
"Actually, five years may be too long for the moment," Padilla said in the "Mindanao Hour" press briefing.
He said he did not know the basis of Alvarez's proposal, noting any extension would be a "political decision."
Padilla said the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Department of National Defense would just make the recommendation.
"But the eventual decision should come from the political leadership who has the wider basis of their decision," he said.
"The Armed Forces, before it makes its recommendation to the Commander-in-Chief must have enough basis --- an intelligent basis --- to make whatever recommendations there is for the extension or the lifting," Padilla said.
The AFP woould focus on operational considerations, Padilla said.
In a separate statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella noted Alvarez has clarified his remarks to extend martial law until 2022 was his personal opinion.
"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," he said.
Duterte declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao on May 23 for 60 days due to the rebellion and invasion by the Iamic State-linked Maute Terror Group.
The 60-day martial law will expire on July 22. Celerina Monte/DMS.