Pinoys favor Mindanao martial law

Lorenzana assures security establishments adhere to rule of law

While 92 percent of Filipinos said they are fully aware of President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, a high percentage of residents in the country also expressed disagreement on expanding the imposition of the said measure to Luzon and Visayas.

The administration recently scored a victory after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao and his suspension of the writ of habeas corpus there after Maute group terrorists overran Marawi City.

Duterte declared Mindanao under martial law on May 23, hours after fighting broke out between extremist gunmen and government forces in Marawi City.

Sixty-four percent of respondents from Mindanao backed the declaration, followed by Metro Manila (58 percent), Visayas (57 percent), and the rest of Luzon (53 percent).

Sixty-three percent of respondents in the Visayas disagreed while 23 percent agreed while 13 percent were undecided.

After a two-hour briefing with senators Tuesday, police chief Ronald Dela Rosa told reporters he could not say when clashes in Marawi, now on its 51st day, will end. Twenty-three percent agreed, while 13 percent were undecided about the matter.

SWS said 63 percent disagreed that Duterte should also declare martial law in Visayas, while 67 disagreed it should be declared in Luzon.

"It is for the objective of telling the public about the specific parameters of the President's declaration of martial law in the light of the numerous safeguards in the Constitution", he said.

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Presidential Spokeperson Ernesto Abella reacted to this finding saying the expansion of martial law will depend on the police and military's assessment of the ground situation. He earlier threatened to expand the scope of martial law nationwide to address any possible spillover of the ISIS threat.

Task Force Davao personnel man security check-points in Davao City after President Duterte's martial law declaration.

"Malacañang and Congress would do well to reconsider any plans of extending martial law", he added.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate committee on economic affairs, said a prolonged military rule in Mindanao would only shoo away potential investors.

Extending martial law and expanding its area of coverage gained various criticisms across sectors in the country.

"Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez's hubris and the military's doublespeak on extending the length of time, geographical scope and target groups of martial law are all hallmarks of a State gone full-speed militarist", Cristina Palabay, Secretary General of Karapatan said in a statement on Tuesday. "'Oh, it's martial law, ' they will get scared", he said.

Dela Rosa, however, said he saw no problem with extending martial law because "we better not take chances".

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