- DND chief confirmed telling senators martial law not needed to neutralize militants
- However, he said martial law imposition goes beyond Maute threat in Marawi
- He explained need for martial law to resolve Mindanao’s security concerns once and for all
MANILA, Philippines – Confirming he indeed told opposition senators about martial law not being needed to neutralize the Maute militants in Marawi City, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration went beyond the immediate security threat posed by the militants.
According to Lorenzana, Duterte imposed martial law over Mindanao in order to decisively address the long-standing security problems besetting the island.
“The situation currently being dealt with by State security forces goes beyond Marawi City,” GMA News quoted him as saying. “President Duterte’s imposition of martial law aims to put an end to the long running rebellion in various provinces in the South, as evidenced by the incidents that happened in Zamboanga, Davao, Bohol, Lanao, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and Maguindanao.”
Duterte had promised to resolve the security threats in Mindanao once and for all if he ever declares martial law.
Lorenzana’s clarification came after six senators belonging to the minority bloc opposed to the whole-island proclamation said he told them about the non-necessity of martial law.
“One particular issue, question was asked pointedly by Senator Trillanes. Can we contain Maute without martial law? The answer of Secretary Lorenzana, ‘Yes we can,'” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said.
The six are mulling the possibility of questioning the factual basis for the declaration of martial law before the Supreme Court after their resolution calling for a joint session of Congress was thumbed down by the majority.
Under the Constitution, any citizen may oppose the declaration of martial law by filing a petition before the high tribunal.