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Rody seeking martial law extension

PRESIDENT  Duterte with presidential spokesperon Salvador Panelo

PRESIDENT Duterte with presidential spokesperon Salvador Panelo

President Duterte is seeking another extension of martial law in Mindanao upon the recommendation of the military and police.

The President has called on Congress to support the extension of martial law for another year in the South, according to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

“One year and Mindanao,” Medialdea said about the President’s decision on the proposed martial law extension.

“It’s the Senate President and Speaker who would call for a joint session probably on the President’s request for the extension of martial law,” he added.

The President declared martial law in Mindanao in May 2017 to quell threats of rebellion and lawless violence following the terror siege in Marawi City. The martial law proclamation is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31 after the extension previously granted by Congress.

The military and police reportedly recommended to the President a yearlong extension of martial law to help address lingering terror threats in the region.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo had said the President might be persuaded to prolong martial law in the South due to the support of the military, police, and the residents to keep peace and order.

“The basis always will be the safety of the people there. If the threat remains and there is still an ongoing rebellion, then constitutionally the basis will be valid for continuation of martial law,” Panelo said.

Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III disclosed that Duterte has called for a joint session of Congress to vote on the proposed extension of martial law in Mindanao.

But Sotto noted that Duterte has yet to make  his appeal for a joint session official.

“I’m still waiting for the President’s letter re: joint session. He sent me a message saying he might call for it on Wednesday, Dec. 12. But nothing is concrete until I receive his letter,” Sotto said.

Sotto said lawmakers are scheduled to meet  the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Monday next week for a briefing on their recommendation to extend martial law. (with a report from Vanne Terrazola)