The Daily Manila Shimbun


Duterte warns of expanding martial law declaration nationwide

May 24, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Wednesday the declaration of martial law might be expanded to the whole Philippines if violence and rebellion in Mindanao escalate to other parts of the country. Duterte appointed Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Eduardo Ano as the administrator of martial law, adding that his tour of duty is extended for six more months. Ano was supposed to retire from the military next week and assume the interior and local government portfolio. "If I think the ISIS (Islamic State) has already taken foothold also in Luzon and terrorism is not really far behind, I might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people," Duterte said in a press conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport shortly after he arrived from his trip to Russia. Duterte said he declared martial law in Mindanao after he was told by  police and  military that "we reached the dangerous level." IS follower Maute Group has occupied Marawi City in Lanao del Sur and burned some establishments there on Tuesday. At least three government troopers were killed in the clashes. According to Duterte, the militants could have been "decapitated" the chief of police of a nearby town who just went to Marawi City. Under martial law, Duterte said the police and military are allowed to establish checkpoints, and arrest and searches without warrant or suspension of the privilege of the habeas corpus. "If you are identified positively on the other side, you can be arrested and detained," he said. "But if the things goes out of hand, actually there is a severe fighting, I will allow the Mindanaoans, Moros, and Christians alike, if you are in a possession of a gun licensed by government and in order to give you security and protect your family, you can bring it out. Just show your ID or your license, specially your license," he said. He warned those who would carry outside their residence their firearms not to falsify their documents. Duterte said he might also declare curfew in certain parts of Mindanao, such as Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. He said he also ordered the military, especially the Navy, to ensure that the militants could not reach Visayas. "I may decide to expand the area to include the Visayas because it is just a walking distance actually. And because of the many islands, they can always escape there and begin another terroristic activity. I have ordered the military, specially the Navy to  embargo  the islands, specially the sea that separates Mindanao from the Visayas," Duterte said. Just like in the campaign against illegal drugs, if suspected terrorist resisted authorities, they are covered by his "shoot to kill order," he said. "If you confront government and my orders are one: to enforce the law. And anyone caught possessing a gun and confronting us with violence, my orders are shoot to kill," he said. Duterte assured there would be no human rights abuses in places under martial law. "I said, I will not allow abuses. The courts are open. But anyone now holding a gun, confronting government with violence, my orders are spare no one. Let us solve the problem of Mindanao once and for all," he said. Duterte said he would hold a Cabinet meeting to get further "hard facts" in Marawi City. He added he is willing to go to Marawi City to talk with Maute Group. Duterte said in order for the economy not to be affected so much by the declaration of martial law, the government would try to resolve the problem in Marawi City as fast as they could. "That is why I said, we must be fast and restore normalcy. If it can be done one week, I’d be very happy. But if it would take me until the end of my term to see that Mindanao is safe for everybody, I will do it," he said. Duterte said he would report to Congress in writing within 48 hours the factual basis of his declaration of martial law. Under Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it. Celerina Monte/DMS