Bato wants martial law extended to get narco-politicians backing Mautes

By Cecille Suerte Felipe

MANILA, Philippines - The need to ferret out narco-politician backers of the Maute militants in Marawi should justify an extension of the 60-day martial law in Mindanao, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said yesterday. 

He said the PNP on Friday submitted to Malacañang a position paper on the matter.

He clarified the PNP’s position paper did not say how long it wanted martial law extended. He also did not name any narco-politician.

“We did not indicate a period up to when, basta we are for the extension,” said Dela Rosa.

The PNP chief said he is leaving it up to President Duterte to decide how long an extension should last.

He stressed extending martial law would allow government troops to go after narco-politicians. “Number one is the identified narco-politicians who are believed to be supporting the cause of the Maute are still at large. We still have to account for these narco-politicians. We have to arrest them first,” he pointed out.

Dela Rosa also made it clear he doesn’t want martial law in Mindanao to stretch to five years as some have proposed. “I don’t think it is acceptable to the people,” he said.

Aside from giving authorities more time to track down and arrest narco-politicians supporting the Maute group, Dela Rosa said an extension of martial law would also facilitate the rehabilitation of the war-ravaged Marawi.

Earlier, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he wanted martial law in Mindanao maintained up to the end of Duterte’s term in 2022.

The President had said he would base his decision on whether to extend or end martial law on recommendations from the police and the military.

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