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Extend pa more? AFP, PNP to release joint assessment on martial law next week

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MANILA — The final decision to extend martial law in Mindanao may be out by next week as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are to come up with a “joint assessment” for a “more validated conclusive reports”.

As of now, the AFP has yet to recommend an extension of martial law, Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez, Jr. said this during a press conference in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Friday afternoon.

He added there is no final decision yet. “From Singapore, I was tasked by the SND (Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana) to make a consultative report with the PNP. So we directed the (AFP) J-3 (deputy chief-of-staff for operations) to have a joint conference for us to assess our different reports so we can have a more validated conclusive reports,” he added.

Lorenzana was part of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s delegation for the 33rd ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Summit in Singapore, which started on November 13.

Galvez added that the decision to extend martial law might be finalized by next week upon the return of the President.

After the ASEAN Summit, Duterte is also set to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference (APEC) events in Papua New Guinea on Saturday.

“Perhaps next week when the President arrives, maybe (in the next) PNP-AFP national security conference, there we will report our separate assessments and at the same time, our joint assessment,” Galvez said.

Earlier, Malacañang said it would depend on the recommendation of the AFP on whether or not martial law will be extended after the end of the year.

Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the Maute Group in Marawi City. The House of Representatives, in a special joint session in July last year, granted the extension of martial law until Dec. 31, 2017 at the President’s request.

The Senate and House of Representatives, convening in a joint session early December, later granted the Chief Executive’s request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period of one year from January 1 to December 31 this year. (PNA)