THE Armed Forces should ask authority from Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao to address the remaining threats from the Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other extremists, an official said Sunday.
“If, before December 31, if they will ask for an extension, they should formally ask for an authority from Congress for the extension,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon told dzBB radio.
Meanwhile, Armed Forces spokesman Restituto Padilla on Sunday assured the public that government troops continued to exhaust all efforts to foil any potential terror plot by extremist groups and their allies in Mindanao.
He made the statement in the wake of President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement that the decision to extend martial law in Mindanao would come from military and police recommendations.
“We are working to meet the deadline by the end of the year to address the threats posed by terror networks in Mindanao,” Padilla said in a message to the PNA Sunday.
But Senator Leila de Lima warned of a military takeover if President Duterte pushed through with his threat to declare a revolutionary government to quell destabilization plans by some quarters.
De Lima said Duterte could be forcibly removed from office if he insisted on declaring a revolutionary government to crush communists and those he perceived to be “enemies of the state.”
“Those asking for a revolutionary government under Duterte should be careful what they wish for,” she said.
Drilon said the basis for martial law as mandated in the Constitution would still be the same: A rebellion or an invasion.
He said he believed Duterte would not extend martial law in Mindanao based solely on his decision.
“The President knows that based on our Constitution, it is Congress which authorizes the extension of martial law,” Drilon said.
Padilla cited the need to extend martial law in Mindanao to address the remaining threats there.
Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law in May after the ISIS-inspired Maute group attacked Marawi City, an assault that escalated into a five-month armed fighting between the terrorist group and government forces.
Last month, Duterte declared Marawi liberated from the Maute following the death of the two top leaders of the Marawi siege. Martial law, however, was not lifted and would remain in effect until the end of December. With PNA