Defense chief Lorenzana says there’s no need to extend martial law in Mindanao

(Eagle News) — For Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, there is no need to extend martial law in Mindanao which is set to expire on December 31 this year.

While he said that he is still waiting for the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police on the matter, he is of the view that there is no need for its extension.

Masyado nang matagal, eh (It has been going on for too long). Parang we can do our job naman (It seems we can really do our job),” he said.

“Kung ako lang (If it’s up to me) I will not recommend anymore the extension. Matagal na masyado (it has been too long),” Lorenzana told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo.

Martial law in Mindanao has been in place since May 23, 2017 when President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law and the suspension of habeas corpus under Proclamation No. 216 to address the Marawi siege and quell the rebellion in the region.

After the siege ended in October, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte sought the extension of martial law until the end of 2017, which the Congress approved. It was again extended up to end of 2018 and then to the end of 2019.

Lorenzana said that instead of extending martial law, he hoped that Congress would pass the amended Human Security Act that would give more leverage to law enforcement to better fight terrorism.

The amendments recommended by the Department of National Defense included an extended wiretapping and detention period that will advance the government’s anti-terrorism campaign.

DND also wants to remove the P500,000 fine per day for members of security forces who may have wrongfully detained a suspected terrorist.

“That’s a better arrangement than the martial law,” Lorenzana said.