Despite opposition, martial law beyond Mindanao depends on ‘situation on ground’ – Abella

July 12, 2017 - 11:37 AM
OV10 Bronco bomb blast
Debris and smoke rises in the air after an OV-10 Bronco aircraft releases a bomb in Marawi. (Reuters)

MANILA, Philippines — Despite a survey showing the majority of Filipinos opposed to expanding martial law beyond Mindanao, this will depend “on the situation on the ground as assessed and recommended by military and police authorities,” Malacañang said on Wednesday.

At the same time, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Social Weather Stations poll, which showed 57 percent of respondents supporting martial law in Mindanao, not only “validates” the “very good” satisfaction rating earned by President Rodrigo Duterte but also proves people “believe the factual and legal basis” for Proclamation No. 216.

Duterte issued the proclamation, which placed the whole of Mindanao under martial law, soon after fighting broke out between extremist gunmen and government forces in Marawi City on May 23. Early on, Duterte had hinted he might expand the coverage of martial law and, more recently, with the battle to retake Marawi not over, has also suggested he might seek to extend its duration beyond the original 60 days.

However, the survey also found 63 percent of respondents opposed expanding martial to the Visayas and even more — 67 percent — to Luzon.

READ RELATED STORY: SWS Q2 SURVEY | More than 6 out of 10 in SWS survey oppose expansion of martial law

SWS 2017 Q2 survey chart
Chart shows responses to the question of agreeing or disagreeing to expansion of martial law to Visayas and Luzon.

In contrast to his reaction to the approval for martial law, Abella said: “As to the same survey showing that majority, except in Mindanao, opposes expanding martial law in Luzon and in the Visayas, it is noteworthy to mention that all these would depend on the situation on the ground as assessed and recommended by military and police authorities.”