THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) yesterday underscored the need to extend martial law in Mindanao as it cited the recent twin bombings in Jolo, Sulu which claimed the lives of 21 persons and injured dozens.
During oral argument before the Supreme Court, which was hearing consolidated petitions challenging the legality of the third extension of martial law, AFP deputy chief of staff for intelligence Major General Pablo Lorenzo stressed the recent attacks were “proof of continuing danger” in Mindanao.
“The attack demonstrates the continuing danger posed to the public by these terrorist groups while advancing their respective political objectives,” Lorenzo told SC justices.
He stressed that the extension’s basis was the continuing rebellion being waged both by terror and communist groups like the Abu Sayyaf and New People’s Army.
Incidentally, it was the infamous Islamic State that has claimed responsibility for the attack.
“The factual basis for the extension of martial law is anchored on the continuing rebellion being waged by the communist terrorist groups, and the local terrorist groups along with their foreign terrorist allies,” Lorenzo said.
Solicitor General Jose Calida echoed the statements of Lorenzo, stressing the recent bombing was part of the ongoing rebellion in Mindanao.
“That was part of the terrorism and rebellion that they (ISIS) are waging against the Philippines,” Calida said.
Last December, Congress granted President Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2019.
Critics of the government opposed the extension, saying the Duterte administration had failed to prove that actual rebellion exists in Mindanao.
As of this writing, the oral argument was still ongoing.