Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is not sold to the idea of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to extend Martial Law in Mindanao up to the end of the term of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2022.
Lorenzana, also the martial law administrator, said declaration of martial law is a presidential prerogative and not a legislative issue.
“While we respect the position of our lawmakers and laud their support to the military, we believe that the declaration of Martial Law is an extraordinary power of the President as Commander-in-Chief that must be resorted to only when warranted by our national security circumstances,” Lorenzana added.
While stressing that they will follow whatever path laid by the government in its Martial Law declaration in Mindanao, Lorenzana assured the public that every action undertaken in the name of the latter will be done under the rule of law and respect for human rights.
“The Filipino people can rest assured, however, that if martial law is extended, they can continue to trust their defense and security establishments since every decision we make and operation we undertake is anchored on the rule of law and respect for human rights,” he said in statement Tuesday.
Lorenzana said that the public can trust government troops to protect them and advance their best interest.
The DND chief issued this statement following remarks of Alvarez that he will push for the five-year extension of Martial Law.
Martial Law in Mindanao was declared nighttime of May 23 following the attacks of Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City.
And under the Constitution, the DND chief said Martial Law has prescribed limitations precisely to prevent its being abused as it has implications to the country’s peace and order, economy, trade, tourism, and the people’s way of life.
Under the 1987 Constitution, Martial Law can only be declared for a period of 60 days and any extension could allowed by the House of Representatives.
“As the Administrator of Martial Law in Mindanao, we will follow whatever path will be laid out by the national government,” Lorenzana pointed out. (Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)