MALACAÑANG acknowledged Saturday the openness of the Mindanao bishops on President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in the region.

"The government appreciates support from all sectors, no matter how nuanced," Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Abella's statement came after Cotabato Cardinal Orlando Quevedo said Friday that Catholic bishops in Southern Philippines do not oppose one-man rule in Mindanao.

On Tuesday, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, following the clashes between government forces and members of Maute group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

Maute reportedly torched several establishments in the city, including a church and houses. The group also allegedly abducted priest Teresito Suganob and a number of church personnel and teachers.

Quevedo said the Church has no "solid and sufficient" evidence to dismiss the proclamation of martial law as "morally reprehensible."

He, however, said that martial law must only be "temporary" and must not be a gateway for abuses.

"We have many fears but at present, we simply do not have solid and sufficient facts to absolutely reject the declaration of Martial law as morally reprehensible," Quevec said in a pastoral guidance.

"We shall condemn any abuse of Martial law and as in the past will condemn it outright if it goes in the way of evil. Let us be vigilant," he added.

Abella assured that mechanisms to prevent and address human rights abuses are in place.

He added that the current military operations at present are different from the past, or during Martial law under the Marcos regime.

"Such mechanisms are in place, and this will differentiate this military action from the past," Abella said. (SunStar Philippines)