Abella: Duterte's martial law decision out on or before July 22

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 17) — Expect President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to extend or lift martial law in Mindanao before the end of this week, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Monday.

Abella was asked during a Palace briefing if the President will announce his decision on military rule before the 60-day limit lapses on July 22. "It should be on or before that," Abella replied.

President Duterte has said he will rely on an assessment from the military and police in the battle zone of Marawi City and in the rest of Mindanao in making his decision on whether to extend or lift martial law.

Abella added Duterte will also seek for the recommendation of key stakeholders.

"The President listens and he considers the position not only of the military and of the police but also the interests of vital stakeholders," he said, without detailing who they are.

Although mum on the President's decision, Abella said Duterte's primary consideration whether to lift or extend martial law will be if there is a "threat to public safety especially in concerned areas."

Martial law administrator and Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana on July 13 submitted his recommendation to Duterte, but he refused to go into the details.

The miiltary's assessment is based on martial law implementor and Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff General Eduardo Año's recommendations.

He said his recommendation is only the position of the military. He added they will stand by any decision the President makes regarding military rule.

"The President will have to look at all other aspect and factors, even political. And whatever the decision of the President, the AFP will support it," Año said.

Armed Forces Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla has hinted that there may be a basis to extend military rule, saying that the objective of destroying the ISIS-linked Maute group's network had yet to be achieved.

"So in as far as the network is concerned , I cannot confidently tell you that we have already taken care of that. So that can perhaps be a basis for the extension," Padilla said in an interview with CNN Philippines on July 13.

Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said the police may recommend lessening the number of provinces in Mindanao that are under military rule.

On July 11, the President, speaking to the business community at the Philippine Stock Exchange, said the Marawi crisis would be resolved in "10 to 15 days."

Duterte, based on the recommendation of government security forces, imposed martial law in Mindanao on May 23 when the Maute group seized Marawi City, the provincial capital of Lanao del Sur. This was considered an act of rebellion under the Constitution, which allows martial law for a period of 60 days. The martial law period is set to end on July 22.