“Peace and order in Mindanao is under control and continues to show marked stability, a condition that may eventually pave the way for the lifting of martial law,” Banac said.
STAR/File
PNP backs lifting of martial law in Mindanao
Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - November 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Like the defense chief, the Philippine National Police (PNP) sees no need for another extension of martial law in Mindanao.

PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac yesterday said security forces are in control in the south.

“Peace and order in Mindanao is under control and continues to show marked stability, a condition that may eventually pave the way for the lifting of martial law,” Banac said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said he is not keen on further extending martial law in Mindanao for another year.

The entire Mindanao region was placed under martial law following the siege of Marawi City from May to October 2017. The third extension will expire on Dec. 31 this year.

Speaking to reporters, Banac said they support Lorenzana’s declaration for the lifting of military rule in Mindanao.

He said extra security measures can be maintained in Sulu and other areas perceived as bailiwicks of local terrorist groups.

“The alert level remains high particularly in Sulu,” Banac said.

The PNP will submit its recommendation before the National Security Council next month on whether martial law in Mindanao should be extended, Banac said.

On the other hand, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon called on the government not to extend the existing martial law in Mindanao.

Drilon said the amendments to the Human Security Act should not be a prerequisite to the lifting of martial law.

“It is high time that we bring back normalcy in the region… Do not dangle lifting martial law in Mindanao in exchange for the speedy passage of the Human Security Act,” Drilon said, reacting to the statements made by Lorenzana that another extension would not be necessary if Congress amends the Human Security Act.

“The passage or non-passage of the amendments to the Human Securities Act is not a ground for extending martial law in Mindanao,” Drilon stressed. 

He said the Constitution is clear that martial law may be declared if actual rebellion exists and Congress may extend the declaration if the rebellion persists and public safety requires it.

“That is the only ground for extension of martial law. But it is clear since day one that martial law or its extension in Mindanao has no basis,” he said. 

Drilon stressed Congress can revoke martial law anytime even without amending the Human Security Act.

He agreed with Lorenzana, who said that martial law has been going on for too long.

“I hope they will not use martial law to put pressure on Congress to pass the amendments to the Human Security Act. The amendments need thorough debates,” Drilon said.  – With Cecille Suerte Felipe

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