By Genalyn D. Kabiling
President Duterte does not see any reason to expand the coverage of martial law to the entire country at the moment.
The President made the admission as he vowed to deal harshly with Islamic State-linked militants plotting to launch attacks in some parts of Mindanao.
“Ang martial law ngayon nandito na. Whether or not I expand it to cover the entire the Philippines is something else,” the President said during a media interview in Cagayan de Oro last Tuesday night.
“And at this time, it is not called for,” said Duterte, who imposed a 60-day martial rule in Mindanao last month following the deadly attack by the Maute extremist group in Marawi City.
The President, in his remarks in Butuan City last weekend, said he was ready to withdraw the martial law declaration in Mindanao if ordered by the Supreme Court. Duterte, however, said if the need arises again, he will declare “copycat” of the martial rule of Marcos.
The President explained that he was “very sorry” for declaring martial law in Mindanao but insisted he was compelled to take such measure to preserve the nation from the threat of the violent Islamic extremists.
Under the martial rule, government security forces have been allowed to conduct warrantless arrests and searches to clamp down on the perpetrators of violence and rebellion in the south.
“The mechanism of the habeas corpus is to prevent the terrorists to gain a foothold in the Visayas,” Duterte said.
He said martial law declaration is “a power inherent in the Office of the President.” “Marcos decided to declare martial law and he had his reasons,” he added.
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