Martial law proposal in Sulu gets PNP backing

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MANILA – The Philippine National Police is backing the proposal of the Philippine Army to impose martial law in Sulu following twin blasts that left at least 15 dead.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana earlier said it was "high-time" for Sulu to be placed under military rule again. Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan has opposed the recommendation.

The PNP said martial law would give security forces "flexibility in maintaining law and order in the province."

"There will be a significant difference of course because we would be able to implement stricter peace and order measures and this is not just about quarantine measures but more on security and we would need of course the cooperation of the civilian authorities," PNP spokesman Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac told ANC.

"All these are just proposals and recommendations. This would still be up to civilian authorities. But in so far as security forces is concerned, we think it would be best if we bring back the imposition of martial law in that part of Western Mindanao."

Imposing martial rule will also enhance the implementation of the anti-terror law, which does not yet have a published implementing rules and regulations, Banac said.

"In the absence of the IRR, we think imposing martial law would help a lot in maintaining peace and order and of course respond to the threats of terrorism," he said.

"We are one with AFP in implementing a lockdown in entire Jolo so even at this point we can prevent movement and assist in the investigation of the incident. We are tightening the security in and around Jolo."

The PNP will send teams from its crime laboratory and bomb data center to help with investigation, he added.

Banac described as "unfortunate" Jolo Police's killing of 4 soldiers that were on the trail of the 2 suicide bombers in Monday's attacks.

"We didn’t want this to happen also and our cops just responded on the situation at that time but it turned awry," he said.

"Justice must be served for the death of the 4 Army personnel and we don’t want this to affect our strong relationship with the AFP. They are our partners in our fight against terrorism so we need to gather our forces together and continue on our fight against terrorism."

The 9 policemen involved are facing murder and planting of evidence charges before the Department of Justice.

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