Speaker Alvarez leads allies in supporting martial law extension
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday led administration allies of the House of Representatives in expressing support for the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
In a radio interview with dzMM, Alvarez confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress to convene in a special session this Saturday to tackle the extension of martial law.
Alvarez, who supported extending martial law until the end of Duterte’s term, claimed the public favored the declaration of martial law in Mindanao to address the threat of terrorism there.
In the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, 57 percent of 1,200 respondents said “it is just right that he (Duterte) declared it in the entire Mindanao.” At least 29 percent said “it should have been declared only for Marawi City and the province of Lanao del Sur while 11 percent said “it should have been declared only for Marawi City, the province of Lanao de Sur and nearby provinces.”
Meanwhile, majority of respondents disagreed that Duterte should also declare martial law in Luzon and Visayas.
“Special session iyan para talakayin ang panukalang i-extend ang martial law. Gaganapin iyan sa House of Representatives sa Sabado (That is a special session to discuss the proposal to extend martial law. That will be held at the House of Representatives on Saturday),” Alvarez said.
“In all surveys, pabor ang taumbayan sa declaration ng martial law sa Mindanao, na-appreciate nila kung gaano kabigat ang problema (In all surveys, the people expressed their support for the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, they have an appreciation of how big the problem is),” he added.
In a separate statement, Davao city Rep. Karlo Nograles said he is “100 percent behind the president” in any of his decision to protect Mindanao.
He said Congress is sure to grant the President’s request to extend the Mindanao martial law during the special session this Saturday.
“If, on Saturday, the President will present to us the urgent need to extend Martial Law for another 60 days in Mindanao I believe my colleagues and I will grant it,” Nograles said.
Nograles expressed full confidence that the President knows what he’s doing because he has access to classified information.
“As commander-in-chief, the President has in his possession sensitive intel and the best information on the continuing threats of terrorism in the region,” Nograles said.
Nograles said the martial law in Mindanao has allowed government to continue battling out with the Maute terrorists, whose attack in Marawi city prompted Duterte’s martial law imposition.
“Martial Law has allowed government to surgically operate against the rebel terrorist groups and led to the capture of ranking rebel terrorist leaders in Davao and Lanao, among others. If the President and the military need to continue with their operations to ensure that the rebellion and terrorism is contained without spilling over to other parts of the country then we must entrust to our President what the Constitution provides as self-preservation of the integrity of our nation,” Nograles said.
Nograles also belied critics that the Mindanao martial law was marred with human rights violations.
“Besides, this administration has been able to show that under this Martial Law no abuses were made and no rights were trampled on , and this was even validated by survey results indicating that Mindanaoans are in favor of Martial Law considering the present circumstances,” Nograles said, referring to the SWS survey.
On Monday night, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas forwarded to reporters his message to all the House members that the President is calling on Congress for a special session on martial law Saturday.
“The President will call the Congress to a Special Session on Saturday, July 22, 2017, at 9 a.m., to consider the extension of Martial Law. See you, please! Thank you!!” Fariñas said in his advisory.
Duterte declared martial law over the whole of Mindanao last May 23, which under the Constitution’s 60-day prescription would lapse on July 22.
House leaders are now open to convening Congress to tackle the extension of martial law, although they earlier thumbed down calls to convene to deliberate on the report of the President when he first imposed martial rule in Mindanao.
They instead opted to meet in a closed door meeting with the military and the executive department about the situation in Marawi.
Opposition lawmakers had questioned before the Supreme Court the refusal of Congress to convene and challenged the factual basis of the President’s martial law report, which they claimed was riddled with inaccurate reports on the Maute terrorists’ attack in Marawi City.
Both Houses of Congress then passed a resolution expressing support for the martial law declaration because it found no reason to revoke it. IDL
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