Malacañang distanced itself from House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez' views to extend the ongoing military rule in Mindanao after he reportedly said he would seek legislative support from his colleagues in Congress.
The military has been having a hard time retaking parts of Marawi still controlled by the terrorists, as snipers from the enemy side still lurk around the conflict zone.
A spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Monday said extending martial law in Mindanao for 5 years may be too long but said the final decision will be up to the political leadership.
The expected meeting will come five days before the 60-day imposition of martial law expires and ahead of Duterte's second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24, when Congress opens its second regular session.
Ejercito earlier pointed out that since there have been no atrocities or any human rights violations committed since the imposition of martial law, "it will be easier to justify (its) extension if needed".
Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of Duterte's martial law declaration in Mindanao, officially setting aside the opposition's bid to overturn it.
"Before it makes a recommendation to the commander-in-chief, the AFP must have an intelligent basis to make whatever recommendation there is for extension or lifting", Padilla said in a news conference.
Duterte, who was forced to cut short a state visit to Russian Federation when fighting broke out in Marawi, potentially courted controversy with his declaration of martial law, a sensitive subject for most Filipinos.
For his part, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella said of Mr. Alvarez's remarks that the Speaker has "clarified that his remarks to extend martial lawuntil 2022 is his personal opinion".
Displaced children stay at an evacuation center outside the city, as army troops continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, in Marawi, Philippines July 4, 2017.
'IMBECILIC' For its part, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) slammed the government's "plan" to extend martial law in Mindanao and criticized Mr. Duterte's decision to exclusively rely on the military in deciding when to end the declaration.
But for the AFP, five years seems too long, even as Brig.
"Our efforts on the ground are also focused (on) rescuing civilians who are still trapped". In a daily briefing on July 10, the military reported that more than 450 terrorists, 39 civilians, and 89 military and police personnel have been killed in the siege, which shows no sign of abating despite military claims that the militants have been confined to a small area and reduced to less than 100 fighters.
More than 400 have been killed in the fighting so far, while more than 300,000 have been displaced.
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