Sunday, July 16, 2017

Defense chief: DU30 already has ML inputs

From the Daily Tribune (Jul 17): Defense chief: DU30 already has ML inputs

The Department of National Defense (DND) had submitted a recommendation of the defense and military establishments on the lifting or extension of martial law in Mindanao.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the recommendation was forwarded to President Duterte last Thursday but he refused to reveal the recommendation that he and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Año made.

“No comment on what he (Año) recommended nor mine. Let us wait for the decision of the President.,” said Lorenzana.

Duterte last May 23 declared martial law in Mindanao after Islamic State-Inspired terrorists from the Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups laid siege on Marawi City.

The 60-day martial law would be expiring July 23.

As martial law administrator, Lorenzana issued two arrest orders against more than 300 members and supporters of the Maute-IS group.

Several key personalities had been arrested, led byCayamora Maute and Farhana Romato-Maute — the parents of Abdullah and Omarkhayam Maute who are tagged as the leaders of the IS-inspired group.

The President has previously stated that he will only listen to the recommendation of the military and PHilippine National Police (PNP) on deciding whether to lift or extend the martial rule.

PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa has already said that he will recommend the extension of martial law to completely flush out terrorists in Marawi City and other areas in Mindanao.

“What I submitted to him (Duterte) was my recommendation from the security sector as Administrator of Martial Law in Mindanao after consulting with the CSAFP General Año. The President has a lot more to consider,” he said, including the inputs from the DILG/PNP, other government agencies and the people of Mindanao.

“I fully trust the President’s judgment on this whether he considers my recommendations or not,” he  added.??

Bigger task ahead

Lorenzana, who was also designated as Chairman of Task Force Bangon Marawi to rebuild and rehabilitate Marawi, acknowledged that the work ahead after the fighting is even more daunting considering the extent of damage wrought into the city.??

“While we have already begun laying the foundation for the reconstruction, recovery, and rehabilitation of Marawi City through community engagement, coordination with various agencies and making post disaster assessments, we earnestly look forward to the end of fighting because we want our Maranao brothers and sisters who have left their homes to go back, reconstitute their interrupted lives and partner with us on how we can best rebuild Marawi into a better and more beautiful city,” Lorenzana said.

“There is still a lot of work to do but I am very confident that together, as one nation, we can all help Marawi rise up from the ashes of conflict and be a better place,” Lorenzana added.

Mr. Duterte would likely make a decision whether or not he would seek the extension of the martial law declaration in Mindanao before the 60-day period expires as provided under the Constitution on July 22, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla added.

“Even before the deadline comes, there will be an announcement by the Commander-in-Chief regarding his decision, whether to approve or support the recommendation that will be forwarded to him,” he said.

Duterte issued on May 23 Proclamation 216 imposing martial law in Mindanao and at the same time suspending the writ of habeas corpus in the region  following the Maute group’s Islamic State (IS)-inspired occupation of Marawi City.

The 60-day implementation of martial law will lapse on July 22, two days before Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address.

Padilla said AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Año has approved the military’s assessment of martial law in Mindanao.

“[It] has already been submitted to the Secretary of National Defense. From there, once the Secretary of Defense made his own inputs to the documents, being the administrator of martial law, it will be forwarded to the Commander-in-Chief for decision,” Padilla added.

No unli ML — Drilon

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon, meanwhile, said any extension of martial law must not exceed the original 60-day period as provided by the 1987 Constitution.

“We cannot have an unlimited or ‘unli’- Martial Law in Mindanao,” Drilon, a former justice secretary, said in an interview with DZBB radio.

“Given that the 1987 Constitution places utmost importance on our systems of checks and balances, any notion of perpetual or even a five-year Martial Law rule in any part of the country can never be allowed under the fundamental law,” he stressed.

According to Drilon, any extension of martial rule must not go beyond 60 days “in accordance with the intentions of the framers of the 1987 Constitution.”

“Any declaration of Martial Law must be regularly reviewed, since it is the spirit of the present Constitution that that specific power of the President must be subject to a regular review. It should never be perpetual or even too long,” he said.

He noted that Section 18 of Article VII of the 1987 Constitution allows the President to place any part of the country under martial law for a period not exceeding sixty (60) days.

“We cannot ignore that the Constitution itself calls for a limited, and a regular review, of Martial law,” he added.  

 “So unlike ‘unli-rice,’ there can be no ‘unli-Martial Law,’” he quipped.

 The senator also stressed that under the Constitution, it is ultimately Congress which will approve any possible extension of Proclamation 216.

“It is precisely of our system of checks and balances that the duration of any declaration of martial law has been limited, and that any possible extension is subject to review and deliberation of Congress in joint session,” he said.

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