DEFENSE Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed Wednesday telling the senators during an executive session last Monday that the military can neutralize the Maute group even without martial law.
On Tuesday, Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Lorenzana answered in affirmative when he was asked by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV if the government forces can contain the crisis in Marawi City without the martial law.
But in a clarificatory statement, Lorenzana emphasized that martial law is imperative to once and for all address security concerns in the entire Mindanao "immediately and decisively".
"The situation currently being dealt with by security forces goes beyond Marawi City. President Duterte’s imposition of martial law aims to put an end to the long-running rebellion in various provinces in the south as evidenced by the incidents that happened in Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Maguindanao," Lorenzana said.
He stressed President's statement saying "kung magdi-declare ako ng martial law, tatapusin ko nang lahat ito," which refers to the threats posed by Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) linked local and foreign terrorist groups whose network covers the entire Mindanao.
On May 23, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in the entire Mindanao following clashes between the government forces and Maute in Marawi City. (SunStar Philippines)