Duterte asks Congress for 60-day extension on martial law; request to be discussed on Saturday

Image capture from RTVM's video
  • President requested an additional 60 days for martial law over Mindanao
  • Congress to tackle the request this Saturday
  • Administration allies confident of favorable vote

MANILA, Philippines  – Lawmakers have confirmed President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law over Mindanao for another 60 days amid the impending lapse of his original declaration.

“Sixty days of martial law extension and still over entire Mindanao,” Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III told Rappler.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas also confirmed Duterte’s verbal request but said Congress will wait for his letter.

“He mentioned the period but let’s wait for his formal letter to Congress. In fact, he only informed us at his table about his request for extension,” he said.

Farinas also announced that Congress will tackle the president’s request during a special session this Saturday.

“The President will call the Congress to a Special Session on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017, at 9am, to consider the extension of Martial Law,” he said.

Martial law will lapse on July 22 and under the 1987 Constitution, the president on his own initiative must ask Congress for an extension which will be then either be granted or denied.

For their part, allies of the administration expressed confidence that Duterte’s request would be granted by Congress.

“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,” House Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castrol said.

“The House has shown its full support and confidence in the wisdom of our commander-in-chief,” fellow Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia added.