Philippine Congress debates Duterte's push for martial law extension

Philippine Congress debates Duterte's push for martial law extension

Philippine Congress debates Duterte's push for martial law extension

Congress will grant President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law for another year in Mindanao, but the minority group will still manifest their objection to such moves, Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon said on Monday.

According to Calida, the President deems it necessary to extend the proclamation to completely quell and put an end to the ongoing rebellion in Mindanao.

Duterte listed five reasons behind his request for extension, citing threats from the groups that operated in Marawi, other threat groups in Maguindanao and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi, and devoted five paragraphs on threats from the New People's Army (NPA). "The remnants of these rebel groups are now regrouping and recruiting new members to sustain the ongoing rebellion".

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Opponents say extending martial law in the south is unconstitutional and have expressed fears that it can be a prelude for Duterte to declare martial law throughout the Philippines.

At the start of the joint session on Wednesday, the lawmakers adopted a resolution acknowledging the President's request.

The BIFF allegedly perpetrated at least 15 violent incidents in Maguindanao and North Cotabato during martial law and that this year, the BIFF "initiated at least 89 violent incidents, mostly harassments and roadside bombings" against government troops.

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Left-wing and pro-democracy groups have protested Duterte's imposition of martial law because of human rights concerns, but the Supreme Court has upheld its legality. Buhay Representative Lito Atienza argued that the request went against the "intention" of the framers of the 1987 Constitution "that never again should any president be allowed to utilize martial law indefinitely". He argued that ultimately, it's up to Congress to determine if the extension is justifiable and for how long martial law would remain. "There's no such thing as preventive martial law", Hilbay said.

Duterte declared Marawi City "liberated from the terrorist influence" on October 17, a day after the leaders of the siege - Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, the alleged Emir of East Asia, and Omar Maute, were killed.

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