Duterte asked to lift martial law in Davao City

Lorenzana assures security establishments adhere to rule of law

Lorenzana assures security establishments adhere to rule of law

A senior government official on Tuesday assured Filipinos there would be no abuses amid calls to extend martial law imposed by President Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte over the whole of troubled Mindanao.

Twenty-nine percent of the 1,200 respondents said martial law should have been declared only in Marawi City and the province of Lanao del Sur, while 11 percent said it should have been declared in Marawi City alone.

Concurrence with Duterte's declaration was highest in Mindanao, where 64 percent agreed with Proclamation No. 216, followed by Metro Manila at 58 percent, Visayas at 57 percent, and Balance Luzon at 53 percent.

A total of 63 percent of respondents said they disagree on expanding the martial law declaration to Visayas, the SWS survey said.

"That decision would give the go signal to the president because it gives the president excessive leeway or flexibility in declaring martial law that goes against the constitutional directive", he said.

This might have been the impetus behind the decision of President Duterte to declare martial law not only in Marawi City - where ISIS inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists continue to battle the armed forces of the government - but all throughout Mindanao perhaps to deter further rebellious or terroristic activity in the area.

Extension of martial law to the Visayas and Luzon, which Duterte was considering if terror activities become widespread, was rejected.

In Luzon, 67 percent of the respondents opposed, 20 percent agreed, while 13 percent were undecided. "The idea that we need to extend martial law should come from him, not from anyone else", he said.

However, Mindanaoans bucked the nationwide trend, with 43 percent saying Duterte should declare martial law in Visayas, just five percentage points over those who disagreed; while 40 percent agreed that it should be expanded to Luzon, just two percentage points ahead of those who disagreed.

Expanding martial law in other areas in the country "would depend on the situation on the ground as assessed and recommended by military and police authorities", Abella pointed out.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has proposed a five-year extension but the military, which has yet to submit its recommendation to Duterte, has thumbed this down as too long.

"Malacañang and Congress would do well to reconsider any plans of extending martial law", he added. "'Oh, it's martial law, ' they will get scared", he said.

"If you have a five-year martial law, potential investors will now hesitate and will think twice before going in Mindanao".

While stressing that they will follow whatever path laid by the government in its Martial Law declaration in Mindanao, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assured the public that every action undertaken in the name of the latter will be done under the rule of law and respect for human rights.

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