ON MY OWN
House Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep-resentative, Pantaleon Alvarez, is suggesting for the ex-tension of Martial Law in Mindanao for another five years or until the term of office of President Duterte ends in 2022.
The Philippine Cons-titution does not provide for the length of time the extension might stay. It only stipulates that martial law can stay for 60 days after its declaration provided that the supreme court finds the declaration legal and binding. And this declaration can be extended.
Now that the supreme court upholds the legality of martial in Mindanao, the Speaker of the Lower House is entertaining the thoughts of extending Martial Law for another five years. Maybe the good Speaker is riding on the bandwagon of martial law especially that it can be extended without limit.
But Malacanan Palace believes that the President only needs the recom-mendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines before he decides to extend it for unlimited time. Martial Law was declared on May 23, 2017 and will end this coming July 24. If the President will choose to extend martial law in Mindanao it will soon start in July 25.
I would like to believe that AFP will recommend for its extension. We just have to remember that there was a cloud of doubt as to the declaration of martial law on May 23, 2017. Many political analyst believe that the declaration lack sufficient factual basis especially that the intelligence report which was the basis for the declaration was kept from the public. The legality of the declaration was sealed by the supreme court by affirming the declaration of President Duterte putting the entire Mindanao in military rule.
There-fore, the country is again beset with this extension issue initia-ted by the Lower House Speaker. Why do I believe that military rule in Mindanao will be extended?
First, the President will only base his decision from the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The same agency who made the intelligence report that prompted the President to declare martial law.
Second, Marawi City is the stronghold of the Maute group. As long as the Maute group continues to hide in Marawi City and as long as the battle continues to heighten in Marawi, extension is inevitable.
Finally, the President has always been open to the idea of martial law. Now that the high court has affirmed his decla-ration, there is no basis for the President to stop the martial law in Mindanao.