MANILA, Philippines – Two House deputy speakers said lawmakers will likely grant President Rodrigo Duterte an extension of the martial law declaration in Mindanao if he asks it from Congress.
Deputy Speakers Fredenil Castro and Gwen Garcia made the statement in a press conference on Monday, July 17, the same day administration-allied legislators are set to meet with the President on martial law and the newly drafted Bangsamoro Basic Law in Malacañang.
“Well, I can only surmise that lawmakers are out there to support the President’s request. Because if they supported the proclamation of martial law and the basis for the proclamation is still there, including the fact that the purpose of declaring martial law has not yet been accomplished, I do not see any reason why the Senate or the House of Representatives would withhold its support for an extension requested by the President,” said Castro.
On May 23, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao after government troops clashed with homegrown terrorists from the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group. Petitions against martial law were filed before the Supreme Court, but the SC upheld the proclamation in a vote of 11-3-1.
The 1987 Constitution only allows the President to declare martial law for a maximum of 60 days or until July 22 in this case. Any extension would require approval from both the Senate and the House.
But nearly two months since Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216, soldiers and police are still trying to flush out the remaining terrorists in Marawi City.
Both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have submitted their recommendation on martial law to the President. PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said they have asked for an extension but did not specify until when.
On Monday, Garcia said her colleagues would “leave the wisdom” to the President on whether or not to follow the military and police’s recommendation.
“Bottomline is that the President has access to all information which many of us may not be privy to. Eh siya ‘yung commander-in-chief eh. Siya ‘yung may alam kung ano ‘yung nararapat (He is the commander-in-chief. He knows what is right),” said Garcia.
“Now, kung kailangan i-extend or i-prolong (if we need to extend it or prolong it), we leave that to the wisdom of the President,” she added. – Rappler.com