President Rodrigo Duterte believes his declaration of martial law across the Philippines is possible under certain conditions.
"If I think that ISIS has already taken foothold, also in Luzon, and terrorism is not far behind, I might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people," he said during his press conference at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 5 pm, upon arrival from Russia.
For now, the Commander in Chief has suspended the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
He is also considering the issuance of the same order for Visayas.
“They (referring to Maute group) can always escape there (in Visayas) and do other terrorist activities,” Duterte said.
The President also stated that he has ordered the military “to embargo the islands especially the seas that separate Mindanao from Visayas.”
(File photo shows President Duterte getting off the plane upon his arrival at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport on May 22, 2017. Credits: Alexander Nemenov/AFP)
Writ of habeas corpus is the document that requires a person to be brought to court for investigation of a restraint of his or her liberty.
It is used as protection from illegal imprisonment.
‘Let us solve the problem in Mindanao once and for all,” Duterte said.
“Spare no one,” he instructed law enforcers and government troops as he gave them the “shoot to kill” order against persons who are illegally carrying firearms in Mindanao.
Duterte is also mulling over the imposition of curfew in some areas in the South.
He recalled that he had once said, “the hardest thing to deal will be the arrival of ISIS in the country.”
“It has come to a point where there is really war, street fighting in Marawi,” he noted.
The Commander in Chief vowed, “I will not allow our country to go to the dogs. I will not hesitate to do everything against the terrorists.”
Duterte has designated Armed Forces Chief of Staff (CS) Eduardo Año as the administrator of martial law in Mindanao.
He has extended the tour of duty of the AFP Chief for another six months.