Congress approves extension of martial law in Mindanao; Pangilinan questions the need to do so

Photos from Manila Bulletin (ctto)

Manila, Philippines – The Congress has just approved to extend martial law in Mindanao for another year after hours of deliberations.

The joint session inside the Congress took more than four before the decision was made.

Total of 240 members of the Congress voted to extend martial law in Mindanao and there were only 27 who rejected it.

Meanwhile, the Senate voted 14-4 also in favor of the President’s request and House of Representative got 226-23 also in favor of the extension.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and House Majority Leader and Ilocos Rep. Rodolfo Farninas made the notion to grant the extension of martial law for one more year.

President Rodrigo Duterte has requested for an extension of martial law “to quell rebellion completely” in the region of Mindanao, especially, now that there are more threats from the New People’s Army and Communist Part of the Philippines.

“Despite the liberation of Marawi City, and the eerie silence in the main battlefield, a state of actual rebellion subsists in Mindanao, perpetrated not only by remnants of the DAESH-inspired DWIM, but also by other local and foreign terrorist groups, including the New People’s Army, and ready to explode anew at any given time,” Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said during the joint session.

“Public safety requires a further extension of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao, in order to quell this rebellion completely,” he added.

On the other hand, opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan questioned the rationale of extending martial law when there is no longer siege in Mindanao

‘’Today, there is no longer any siege. Today, no more combat operations in Marawi. Yes, there are operations elsewhere. But why are we asking for one year extension? Why not six months? Why one year? When martial law is an extraordinary measure as admitted by our resources persons,’’ Pangilinan countered during the debate at the House of Representative on Wednesday.

‘’It is no longer extraordinary. It has become a norm if we are to allow this one year extension,’’ he said.

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