PHILIPPINE National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. de la Rosa yesterday confirmed they have recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte the extension of martial law in Mindanao to help them not only fight ISIS-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists but also to boost their campaign against narco-politicians and loose firearms in the region.
The martial rule in Mindanao declared by President Duterte last May 23 in the aftermath of the bloody Maute Group attacks is supposed to be effective for 60-days only but could be extended by the Commander-in-Chief based on the recommendation of the Armed Forces and the PNP.
“Meron kaming position paper na sinubmit last Friday expressing our stand on extension ng martial law. Pero hindi kami naglagay ng period up to when,” the country’s top cop said. He added that the martial law extension will give them more time to account for politicians involved in illegal drug activities in the region.
Gen. de la Rosa stressed that some supporters of the Maute Group are still to be accounted for by security forces. “”’Yung identified na narco-politicians who we believe to be supporting the cause of Maute group are still at large. We still have to account for them,” he said.
The PNP chief said that the martial law extension will also afford them more time to get loose firearms, many of them high-powered ones still in the hands of powerful figures in the South,
“Yung isa pang mabigat na problema na nilagay namin sa aming position paper is yung paglipana ng loose firearms dyan sa Mindanao, particularly sa Marawi at Lanao del Sur. So we have to account for the loose firearms muna bago natin siguro pwedeng i-lift ang martial law,” he explained.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday said the Department of National Defense submitted on July 13 its recommendation on the extension of martial law.
The top cop earlier pushed for the maximum extension of martial law in Mindanao saying that all cities in the region are under threat by the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf.
He also maintained they can justify the continued implementation of martial law in the South from the law enforcement perspective.
Iba naman from the military perspective, sasabihin nila ang tactical reasons nila, strategic reason nila, bakit kailangan i-extend ang martial law. Sa akin naman, from the law enforcement perspective, ano yung mga investigative reasons, bakit kailangan namin i-extend. We will make our position paper,” he explained.