NOVEMBER 12, 2019 – Martial law in Mindanao should be lifted even without the passage of amendments to the anti-terrorism law in Congress, an opposition lawmaker said on Tuesday.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon made the comment after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said a tougher Human Security Act (HSA) is a “better arrangement” than another martial law extension in the restive south.
The martial law is set to expire on December 31.
“I hope they will not use martial law to put pressure on Congress to pass the amendments to the HSA,” Drilon said in a statement.
“The non-passage of the amendments to the HSA should not be used as a basis or justification to further extend martial law. The amendments need thorough debates,” he added.
Drilon pointed out there is no basis to further extend martial law, citing the 1987 Constitution which states its declaration may be prolonged if actual rebellion exists.
“It is high time that we lift bring back normalcy in the region,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law on May 2017 after members of the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group laid siege in Marawi City, which killed more than 1,600 people and caused destruction estimated to cost nearly 100 billion pesos.
It was supposed to last for sixty days, but Congress extended it thrice upon the requests of Duterte to quell terror groups.