SENATOR Juan Miguel Zubiri said a five-month extension of martial law in Mindanao was “necessary” to ensure unhampered reconstruction activity in war-torn Marawi City.
Zubiri was responding to a question on whether he supported the request of President Rodrigo Duterte for Congress to extend martial law until December 31.
“I’m in favor. It’s okay with me,” said Zubiri, who, together with 12 other senators, attended the security briefing that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces Chief Eduardo Ano, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon gave to the legislators to justify the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Also present during the security briefing were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan 2nd, Risa Hontiveros, Grace Poe, Joel Villanueva, and Cynthia Villar.
“I’m in favor of the extension and I feel that it’s necessary. I think five additional months is more than enough. At the same time it’s sufficient enough to be able to weed out these armed elements,” Zubiri said.
He added, “Sixty days is a short period to run after these terrorists. I have a feeling that after 60 days, the President will again ask for an extension. Actually my suggestion in the dinner was six months. And then they said, ‘No. Sixty days would be okay’. See? It’s five months. So, I’m correct after all.” BERNADTTE E. TAMAYO