DUTERTE TO DECIDE ON EXTENSION
SPEAKER TOLD: YOU ARE NOT THE PRESIDENT
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Malacañang on Monday, July 10, stressed that the decision to extend martial law rests on President Rodrigo Duterte and not on House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
“Extending martial law is the decision of the President which PRRD said would rest on the assessment and the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other stakeholders of the Marawi situation,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
A veteran legislator has also chided Alvarez for encroaching into the powers of President Duterte by pushing for the extension of Martial Law to 2022.
Abella’s statement and and the reaction of Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman followed remarks by Alvarez who said that he would push for a five-year extension of martial law.
“If I can convince my colleagues, I will push for an extension until 2022, because two months is too short. Five months or one year or two years is too short,” Alvarez said.
Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216 declaraing Martial Law in Mindanao on May 23 after terrorist groups attacked and occupied Marawi City in Lanao del Sur in western Mindanao..
Alvarez (1st District, Davao del Norte), said on Saturday, July 9, that he would “push for an extension” of martial law up to 2022, at the end of President’s term.
Alvarez made the statement ahead of July 22, when the 60-day constitutional limit of the proclamation expires.
To Lagman, Alvarez, with his statement, was acting presidential, encroached into the powers of the President and preempted the decision of Duterte on whether or not to extend Martial Law.
Lagman said only the President, not Alvarez or other legislators, can “nitiate” the extension of Martial Law in Mndanao.
The Constitution requires that the President may initiate extension of the proclamation to be approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives in a joint session.
“Why are some senators and representatives talking about extending martial law in Mindanao when the President has not even officially initiated such extension?” said Lagman.
“Under the Constitution, while an extension needs the concurrence of the absolute majority of the members of the Congress voting in joint session, any such extension shall be upon the initiative of the President,” he added.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is already finalizing its recommendations on the possible extension or lifting of martial law.
“It’s already being done and in a few days it will be submitted to the (Executive) Secretary for his consideration because he is the administrator of martial law. And that recommendation will make its way up to the Commander-in-Chief who will be provided an advance copy,” AFP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Resituto Padilla Jr. said during the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañang.
He said that the final assessment would be based on whether the rule of law as well as peace and security in most parts of Mindanao had been reestablished.
The AFP official likewise stressed however that whatever recommendations the military submit, the final decision is up to President Duterte.
“The Department of National Defense or the AFP could only recommend, pero ang eventual decision ay kinakailangang manggaling sa political leadership na merong mas malawak na pinag-iisipang o pinagbabatayan ng kanilang desisyon,” Padilla said. (Source: PNA, Rappler)
The decision of local religious leaders to negotiate with Maute Group terrorists regarding the release of certain hostages is not sanctioned by the government, said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla on Tuesday.
He issued this statement in wake of reports claiming that Abdullah Maute, one of the leaders of the lawless elements responsible for wrecking havoc in Marawi City, is open to swap Father Chito Suganob in exchange for the release of his parents, Cayamora and Ominta “Farhana” Maute, who were arrested earlier this month.
“Government’s policy not to negotiate with terrorists remains. Hence, the local religious leader led talks with the terrorists last Sunday is one that was not sanctioned by government, the military and our political leaders,” Padilla said.
“Any demands made inside therefore hold no basis. Let us continue to remind the public that the gravity of their (terrorists and their supporters) offense is immense and they must all be held accountable for all their actions,” the military official stressed.
Conflict in Marawi City started when government security forces attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf Group leader Isnilon Hapilon, the ISIS “Emir” in Southeast Asia, last May 23.
As of this posting, the number of terrorists neutralized by military operations are placed at 290, with the number of government troops killed in action at 70 and 27 civilians executed.
Number of firearms recovered from the lawless elements are placed at 347 with the remaining hostages placed at 150 to 200.
Number of still active Maute Group terrorists are placed between 100 to 120. (PRIAM F. NEPOMUCENO/PNA)
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is hopeful that Marawi City will finally be liberated on Monday (June 12), which is also the 119th Independence Day of the Republic.
“Rest assured, our soldiers are doing their part, they’re doing their best and are continuing on with this effort on the ground to facilitate the liberation of Marawi hopefully by Monday,” Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson said in a press briefing in Malacañang on Friday.
According to Padilla, AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año has made an announcement hoping that by Monday, Philippine flags will be freely waved in every corner of Marawi.
“And we’re working feverishly to do that to ensure we are able to do, to a big extent, what was announced by the Chief of Staff,” he said.
He said the AFP Chief of Staff is looking forward to more cleared areas in the next few days and is optimistic that our momentum and our phase is at the right manner.
“His guidance to our ground commanders to put the primordial concern of having our forces execute military operations to ensure that lives are saved through expeditious military action,” he said.
Padilla said government troops are working overtime to facilitate the liberation of Marawi “at the quickest time that we can.”
Asked on the basis of the assessment, the AFP official said there was an offensive launched on Friday morning against enemy positions.
“So this continues up to this moment and we are confident our troops are gaining important headway inside these areas. And as I have mentioned the other day, definitely proving that the world of the terrorists inside the city is growing smaller by the day,” he said.
Padilla also noted that the volume of fire coming from the enemy has decreased and enemy activity in areas where so much has been monitored has dwindled, and sniper fire has been very selective.
He said the end game is to have Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers arrested “if we can arrest them.” “But if we cannot, then to neutralize them, because I guess they will always fight it to the end,” he said.
“So the liberation of Marawi will only be when every armed element in the city is gone,” the AFP official explained.
According to Padilla, there are still three villages being held by the Maute.
On the reconstruction, rehabilitation and rebuilding of Marawi City, Padilla said it will not only entail military action but a large part of it will be led by civilian leaders in the area.
“And hence, what we have been saying all along, that the problems to all these armed conflicts or these threats will require a holistic solution,” he said.
“So apart from that, the trauma that the community has gone into is one part, so we will need health workers not only from the DOH but from other organizations that can send interventions to rebuild the lives and the — overcome the trauma, particularly on women, children, and the innocent,” he added.
Padilla also assured that the government will help Marawi rebuild at the soonest time possible.
“Ang amin pong ipinaaabot na abiso sa lahat ng ating mga kababayan sa Marawi eh hindi po namin iiwanan ang Marawi na basta na lang ganyan,” he said.
“Kung may nanghimasok, nanira, nanunog at pumatay, ay hindi na po natin papayagan pong muling mangyari ito at tutulungan po naming bumangon ang Marawi sa mabilis na panahon. At kasama diyan ang garantiya na pag iniwan natin ito, mas magiging matibay ang Marawi,” he added.
For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the House Appropriations committee is starting to draw up the comprehensive plan.
During the briefing, Abella also announced that as of June 8, 8 p.m., there are now 1,599 civilians rescued and 146 firearms recovered. (PND/PNA
The remaining Maute Group terrorists, holed up in Marawi City, are now on the end on their rope and are on the verge of being defeated by containing military units.
This was stressed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla who noted that the surviving lawless elements are now fragmented and seeking refuge in four areas in the city.
In those sanctuaries, the terrorists are hard pressed to find food, water and ammunition as their movements are closely monitored by military units.
Padilla said that these forces are deployed to ensure that the terrorists will not be able to make up any desperate moves like taking of hostages and other atrocities.
With this development, the AFP spokesperson is urging the surviving Maute Group members to surrender so that they can live and be reunited with their families.
As of this posting, terrorists dead are placed at 120, government security forces at 38 and 20 civilians executed in the more than two weeks of fighting which started last May 23.
Recovered enemy firearms are placed at 98 and rescued civilians at 1,271. (Priam F. Nepomuceno/PNA)
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