DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Martial Law spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said the military and the police are “in complete control” of the situation in Marawi City, but declined to speculate whether or not 60 days of Martial Law will be enough.
“We’re just starting martial law. We’re just on the second week so I cannot, as of this moment, give you an assessment on the need for its extension. What we are trying to do right now and it’s a commitment is to expedite what needs to be done in order to restore law and order and normalcy in the whole of Mindanao, particularly Marawi,” Padilla said on Tuesday’s “Mindanao Hour” press briefing.
Some 61 Maute members have been killed, while 15 soldiers and three policemen have perished. 61 soldiers and three policemen have also been wounded in action as of Sunday, 6pm. Meanwhile, Padilla reported that some 390 civilians have already been rescued.
Padilla said they currently have no numbers as to how many Maute members are left, but maintained that they control every entry and exit point of Marawi.
This, because the army suspected that some inmates freed by the Maute may have joined their ranks.
We have initially received information of about 40 to 50 armed elements. But as you may have well known, the activities of the militants on the ground and these rebels have led to the freeing of over a 100 prisoners in the jail which they burned. So quite a number of those prisoners may have joined ranks with them because some of them were imprisoned for joining the group,” he said.
Padilla also denied reports saying that the rebels are controlling half of the city. He maintained that only “a few pockets of resistance” remained, which the military and police responders are currently isolating.
The spokesperson called on the public to cooperate with the army to hasten the process of clearing.
“If all of us are helping each other, if all of us would unite, the process of returning normalcy in the whole of Mindanao would be expedited”, he said.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella clarified the recent pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte, saying that the president does not intend to bypass Congress and the Supreme Court in the behest of the military.
Abella however, said Duterte will trust only the information given to him by the military and the police.
“The President meant that those who really are truly in — truly aware of the situation are the military and the police. This is not meant to bypass the Supreme Court or the legislative. It simply means to say that those who have true and accurate report — and true and accurate report — in which he will depend on will be the military and the Philippine National Police,” he said.
Duterte earlier said he declared martial law in Mindanao at the advise of the military, and will only lift it if the military says so.
Until the police and the armed forces say the Philippines is safe, this martial law will continue. I will not listen to others. The Supreme Court, Congress, they are not here (in Marawi),” Duterte told soldiers on Saturday during his visit to their camp in Jolo, Sulu.
Under the 1987 consitution, the president may only declare Martial Law for a duration of 60 days.The president may only extend martial law upon the concurrence of congress.
The Supreme Court may also review the factual basis of the Martial Law declaration.
“The Supreme Court will say they will examine into the factual (basis). Why I don’t know. They are not soldiers. They do not know what is happening on the ground,” Duterte said. (davaotoday.com)