- Presidential communications secretary said nationwide martial law remains on gov’t’s table
- He said president will have prerogative to make a declaration if Maute attack again
- He claimed that the Maute is slowly building up its numbers for another uprising
MANILA, Philippines – The government remains open to nationwide martial rule amid the continued threat posed by the Maute group.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar bared this yesterday as he said it is up to President Rodrigo Duterte to make such a declaration if he thinks the militants would attack again.
“We in the government are open to all options. If something happens, we will apply. Hindi naman natin inaasahan na ganoon kalaki iyong presence ng Maute at ng Daula Islamiya diyan sa Marawi [We do not expect the presence of the Maute and the Daulah Islamiyah in Marawi to be that huge],” Philippine Star quoted him as saying. “So once they attack, then the president will use his prerogative, his power to declare martial law.”
“What the President said was that once these extremists launch a*****s, he would exercise his authority to declare martial law. Now, anything can happen around the country,” he added.
Andanar claimed that the militants are slowly rebuilding their strength especially with the return of fighters from the Middle East.
“Now, anything can happen around the country. We cannot guess what will happen but it is possible since the elements from the Middle East, in Iraq, Mosul, in Aleppo, the war there has ended, they will go back here, especially the Filipinos they recruited,” he said. “So all options are open in a sense that if anything can happen, it is in the power of the President written in the Constitution to protect every Filipino.”
Congress recently granted Duterte a one-year extension for martial law in Mindanao. However, opponents have vowed to question the grant before the Supreme Court.