Arroyo: Trust Duterte on martial law declaration

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 1) — Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo rallies behind President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao – and urges Filipinos to do the same.

"It is important that we just trust the President because he knows what we don't know. And he knows what he's doing," Arroyo said Saturday in an event in Makati.

She said the President is privy to confidential information which led to his decision.

Arroyo also imposed martial law in the province of Maguindanao on December 2009, following the Ampatuan Massacre, which killed 57 people, including media practitioners.

Asked if she is in favor of extending the duration of martial law in Mindanao, Arroyo said if the President asks for it, then why not.

Duterte placed the entire island region of Mindanao under martial law on May 23, after clashes between government forces and terrorists in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.

But Duterte said he is open to extending the duration of military rule in Mindanao, and may even declare a nationwide martial law if acts of terror spillover in other parts of the country.

Under the 1987 Constitution, martial law can only last 60 days. Congress must also vote jointly to either revoke or extend the declaration.

Petitioners have raised their concerns to the Supreme Court since Congress shut down moves to convene in a joint session to discuss martial law.

The high court is set to rule on the constitutionality of Duterte's martial law declaration next week.

Arroyo's martial law only lasted eight days. She lifted it even before Congress could review her proclamation.

'Man-made calamity'

Meanwhile, Arroyo described the terror crisis in Marawi as a man-made calamity being suffered by the evacuees.

"And the people of Marawi need the help of the whole country as they try to pick the pieces of their broken lives," Arroyo said.

She also said it will take a long time to rebuild Marawi.

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra on Tuesday told CNN Philippines that plans for the Marawi City rehabilitation are underway.

The military said 303 terrorists, 82 government troops and 44 civilians were killed in clashes in Marawi as of Saturday, more than a month since the siege started. Troops are still battling over 100 terrorists, while at least 200 civilians remain trapped in the war zone.