DND chief: Mindanao martial law legal, will get SC nod

July 3, 2017 - 6:10 PM
Delfin Lorenzana
File photo of DND chief Delfin Lorenzana. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

MANILA – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the legality of the 60-day martial law declaration in Mindanao, which marked its halfway point last week, as government troops continue pitched battles with extremists led by the Maute Group.

According to Lorenzana, he was there when Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Eduardo M. Año discussed the security aspects of the threat posed by the terrorists, and he is confident the Supreme Court appreciated this well.

The high court, he said, is focused on ascertaining if there is factual basis for President Duterte’s Proclamation 216. Duterte issued this on the evening of May 23, or hours after the Maute-led group, allied with Abu Sayyaf’s Isnilon Hapilon, laid siege to Marawi City.

Hapilon has been tagged the Islamic State’s emir in Southeast Asia, as it seeks to establish new footholds after being driven out of its sanctuaries in Iraq and Syria.

Lorenzana said at a briefing Monday he thinks the government has clearly laid out such basis in the hearings conducted by the SC.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue Tuesday (July 4) its promulgation on the martial law declaration, which was the subject of five petitions.

“And I believe we have sufficiently or competently answered all the questions on the basis of martial law. And, yes, tomorrow is the day that they are going to promulgate the ruling. I look forward to seeing that they will say that this is legal for the President to declare martial law in the first place,” Lorenzana said.