House leaders back martial law extension in Mindanao
Leaders in the House of Representatives on Monday said they will remain supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte should he request for an extension of martial law in Mindanao.
In a press conference, Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro said Congress may support extending martial law, especially if the declaration has not yet achieved its purpose of curbing the threat of terrorism in Mindanao since the Maute Group attacked Marawi City in May.
“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, the purpose of declaring martial law has not yet been accomplished, I don’t see any reason why the Senate or the House of Representatives would withhold its support for an extension requested by the President,” Castro said.
Deputy Speaker and Cebu Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia said the leadership would continue supporting the martial law declaration of the President, who only imposed martial rule in Mindanao because he is privy to classified information on the situation in the south.
“Bottom line, sa lahat ng ito, the President has access to all information, which many of us may not be privy to. Siya ang commander-in-chief, siya ang may alam kung ano ang nararapat… We leave that to the wisdom of the President. The House has shown its full support and confidence in the wisdom of our commander-in-chief,” Garcia said.
“Whatever the President may deem necessary for the good of the country in the extension of martial law, then the House of Representatives will stand fully with its support,” she added.
The police and the military have submitted their recommendations to the President for him to decide whether or not to extend the martial law declaration in Mindanao.
According to Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, Congress can extend martial law declaration for a period to be determined by the legislature but only if the President asks for an extension.
“Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it,” the Constitution stated.
Since the Constitution allows a 60-day period for the martial law imposition which started on May 23, the proclamation is set to expire on July 23, before Duterte is expected to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) on July 24.
The President may even use the opportunity of his Sona to ask Congress to extend martial law, especially because there is no law or provision in the 1987 Constitution that would prohibit the President from doing so in his national address, Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque earlier said.
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