FORMER president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said she was in favor of extending martial law in Mindanao if incumbent Rodrigo Duterte would ask for it.
“If he asks for it, yes,” Arroyo, now a representative of Pampanga at the House of Representatives, told reporters when asked in an interview on the sidelines of an Inner Wheel Clubs of the Philippines, Inc. event in Makati City on Saturday.
Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao after the Islamic State-linked Maute group attacked Marawi City on May 23 in a bid to establish an independent Mindanao with Isnilon Hapilon, Abu Sayyaf leader and fugitive, as its “emir”.
Calling the Maute attacks an “act of rebellion”, Duterte declared a 60-day martial rule to flush out the terrorists who have devastated Marawi, displacing thousands of residents, and killing close to a 100 soldiers and policemen in the ongoing fighting. The fatalities, who also include residents caught in the crossfire, and the bandits themselves near 400.
In December 2009, Arroyo, who was then president, declared martial law in Maguindanao following a massacre in the province that left 58 civilians, including 32 journalists dead. The Ampatuans, which have ruled Maguindanao for decades and allies of Arroyo, were linked to the killings, with some family members in detention and awaiting trial.
Arroyo lifted martial law after eight days and upon her Cabinet’s recommendation. MA. REINA LEANNE C. TOLENTINO