Why Binay, Villanueva did not vote on martial law extension
MANILA, Philippines — Why did two senators show up but “did not participate” when Congress voted to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2019?
Senators Nancy Binay and Joel Villanueva both attended the joint session of Congress on Wednesday but did not cast their votes because, according to Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, they “had to leave.”
Binay and Villanueva are members of the majority bloc in the Senate.
Sources said Villanueva would have voted against the extension because of possible legal questions of the present Congress granting a martial law extension even beyond its expiration.
The present 17th Congress will expire in June 2019 while the martial law extension being sought would last until December 31, 2019.
A source said Villanueva would have voted yes if the extension would only be for six months.
Another source, meanwhile, said Binay and Villanueva were not convinced by the justifications presented by the government’s top security officials when they briefed senators about the necessity to extend martial law for another year.
“She (Binay) doesn’t believe there is basis,” the second source said.
The sources said some lawmakers voted in favor of the extension out of respect for Sotto as it would “reflect” on his leadership if the Senate would get a majority vote.
INQUIRER.net has yet to get a statement from Villanueva and Binay on the issue.
Only 12 of 23 senators voted in favor of the extension while five voted against it. Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto abstained from voting.
The 12 who voted for the extension are Sotto, Senators Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Richard Gordon, Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Koko Pimentel, JV Ejercito, Sonny Angara, Win Gatchalian, and Manny Pacquiao.
The five who voted no were Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Bam Aquino, Rise Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, and Francis Escudero.
Drilon, Aquino, Hontiveros, Pangilinan are all opposition members while Escudero belongs to the Senate majority bloc.
Two other opposition members, Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes, could not participate in the joint session as the former has been detained at Camp Crame over drug charges while the latter is abroad.
Senator Loren Legarda, meanwhile, was “indisposed,” Sotto said. /ee
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