Lorenzana said martial law won’t be extended until 2022
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assures that people can trust the armed forces will respect human rights if the government will extend martial law until 2022.
“The Filipino people can rest assured, however, that if martial law is extended, they can continue to trust their defense and security establishments since every decision we make and operation we undertake is anchored on the rule of law and respect for human rights,” Lorenzana said.
“They can trust their Armed Forces to protect them and advance the people’s best interest,” he added.
Lorenzana issued his statement on the matter after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez recommended extending martial law until the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term.
“While we respect the position of our lawmakers and laud their support to the military, we believe that the declaration of Martial Law is an extraordinary power of the President as Commander-in- Chief that must be resorted to only when warranted by our national security circumstances,” said Lorenzana.
“Our Constitution has prescribed limitations precisely to prevent its being abused as it has implications to the country’s peace and order, economy, trade, tourism, and our people’s way of life,” he said.
“As the Administrator of Martial Law in Mindanao, we will follow whatever path will be laid out by the national government,” he added.
In a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo on Tuesday, Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman, emphasized that the military does not see the need to expand martial law declaration in the whole country.
“It never crossed on the mind of the armed forces… to raise it (martial law) nationwide because there was no need for it anyway, the declaration of martial law and its possible extension is dependent on the assessment that will be done by the armed forces,” he said.
“Let’s wait for the completion of the assessment because that will be our basis which we will submit to the office of the defense secretary who is the martial law administrator and who will forward the recommendation to the president,” Padilla added.
Padilla reiterated that the recommendation weather to extend or lift the martial law is expected to be submitted to the president before July 23.
“The declaration of martial law goes out of effect at the end of 60 days and hence the recommendation and the decision to extend it must be done before it ends,” he said.
“We are already on the 50th day of the martial law declaration which started on the 23rd of May so we have 10 days to go, so the recommendation must reach the secretary before that time, and it must reach the president or the commander in chief even before that time as well, so the decision must be done...,” he added. Robina Asido/DMS