PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said that the national police were ready to support President Rodrigo Duterte should he decide to place the country under martial law. File

Bato: PNP to support nationwide martial law
Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) - December 18, 2017 - 2:39pm

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine National Police chief Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa declared Monday that the organization would support President Rodrigo Duterte should he decide to place the entire country under military rule, just less than a week after Congress decided to give its imprimatur for the continuation of martial law in Mindanao for another year.

Dela Rosa also said he might recommend the declaration of nationwide martial law if his regional directors were in "unison" about the need for it, echoing Duterte's position that such declaration was an option for the government.

Duterte last week bared that nationwide military rule was "on the table" if the existence of the republic was already at stake.

"At this time? All options are on the table. All options are on the table. There's only one rationale there: the existence of the Republic of the Philippines," the president said.

READ: Duterte thanks Congress after swift OK of martial law extension

He said the police would support the president on whatever he thinks is needed to be done to address the security concerns facing the country especially Mindanao, scene of a five-month battle between Philippine security forces and Islamist militants who tried to turn the lakeside town of Marawi into the center of the Islamic State group's caliphate in Southeast Asia.

"Everything depends on him, what he thinks he needs to do. We'll just support him all the way. If he says that he will declared martial law nationwide, by all means we have to support our commander-in-chief," Dela Rosa said in an interview with reporters.

The Senate and the House overwhelmingly approved last week Duterte's request for an extension of martial law in Mindanao until Dec. 31, 2018.

In asking Congress to lengthen the effectivity of martial law in Mindanao, Duterte cited the threats that Islamic State-inspired militants, local terrorists and communist militants posed to the country.

READ: Palace says nationwide martial law an option despite diminished Maute

Duterte said the extension would "ensure total eradication of DAESH-Inspired Da’awatul islamiyah Waliyatui Masriq, other like-minded Local/Foreign Terrorist Groups and Armed Lawless Groups, and the communist terrorists and their coddlers, supporters, and financiers."

An international rights group slammed that extension of martial law, saying that it was an "ominous move" that signaled more human rights abuses in the coming months.

Amnesty International's Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific James Gomez said that since military rule was declared in Mindanao on May 23 and extended until Dec. 31, 2017 in July, the region of 22 million had witnessed unlawful killings, destruction of civilian homes and ill-treatment and human rights abuses.

READ: Marawi stories: Hundreds of human rights violations

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