Martial law in Mindanao extended Print
Thursday, 14 December 2017 17:47

By DEXTER YAP

After four hours of deliberation, the Senate and the House of Representatives during its joint session yesterday morning overwhelmingly voted to extend martial law in Mindanao for a period of one year.

Congressman Celso Lobregat said that with a vote of 240-27, both chambers approved President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2018. On the part of the Senate, the vote was 14 in favor and 4 against.

Last July 22, the Senate and the House of Representatives, in special session, granted the extension of martial law until December 31 of this year.

A 60-day martial law was initially declared by Duterte in Mindanao on May 23 following the attack of the Maute group in Marawi City.

This is the second extension granted to President Duterte. Congress earlier granted his request for a 5-month martial law extension, which was supposed to end on December 31 this year.

Both Senate and the House of Representatives also extended by a year the suspension of the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, which will allow the government to arrest persons of interest without a warrant.

Lobregat said that during the deliberation, lawmakers also questioned the officials from the executive on the rationale of the one -year extension of martial law in Mindanao, which some feared would be expanded nationwide.

Martial law administrator Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, AFP chief Rey Guerrero, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, National Security Adviser Germogenes Esperon, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra, as well as other Cabinet officials attended the joint session yesterday held at the Batasan Pambansa complex in Quezon City.

Lobregat, who belongs to the super majority in Congress, also voted in favor and defended the one-year extension, saying rebellion has not yet been completely suppressed despite Duterte’s declaration that Marawi City has been “liberated.”

The solon said that the terrorism didn’t end in Marawi, and in fact, the continuous acts of terror and rebellion continue to persist in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi where remnants of the Islamic State-inspired terrorist group Abu Sayyaf is present and being pursued by government troops. – Dexter Yap