President Rodrigo Duterte regretted the military air strikes that accidentally killed 11 soldiers even as he indicated that he will be the first one to call for an end to martial law in Mindanao.
But only once Mindanao is “stable,” the President insisted.
The President lamented the deaths of his security personnel in general resulting from the clashes in Marawi City.
“I have many dead, I am very sad. I have many dead soldiers, I have many dead police,” Duterte said.
“The earlier we attain the equanimity of the community, the stability, I’d be the first to clamor for the lifting of martial law,” the President said yesterday during the oath-taking of government appointees in Malacañang.
He said the rising death toll of soldiers and police under his administration is pushing him to “hurry up” the war.
“I lose about 3, 4 [security personnel]. It keeps on increasing every day for as long as that war rages on. I am one of those who are really hurrying it up,” he said.
He reiterated that he has faith in the military and police to make the proper recommendations based on the situation on the ground.
“Ask the military or police, ‘Are we okay, because if we are, let’s lift it immediately,” the President said.
He criticized his detractors who claimed he did not consult the military before deciding to declare martial law on May 23.
Earlier, senators claimed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he believed the Marawi crisis could be resolved without martial law.
“You can hardly talk to the fools... You do not declare martial law without asking the soldiers and the policemen,” Duterte said.
The President previously said he would lift martial law only if the military and police recommend that he do so.
He said he is considering suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the region, not put it under martial law.