MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte will call the Congress to a special session on Saturday, 9 a.m. to “consider” the extension of Martial Law in Mindanao.
House of Representatives Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas has said his chamber and the Senate will hold a joint session “as required by the Constitution… to consider the initiative of the President to extend Martial Law.”
However, he did not say how long the President intended to extend the period of martial law or if it would continue to cover the entirety of Mindanao.
Fariñas made the announcement on Monday, at 7:55 p.m., after Malacañang invited members of the House to a meeting as the 60-day period for martial law declared on May 23 would wind down to its last week.
Martial Law is set to expire on July 22. Earlier on Monday, Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro said lawmakers would likely support an extension of martial law if “the basis for the proclamation is still there, the purpose of declaring Martial Law has not been accomplished.”
Fellow Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia said “the House has shown its full support and confidence in the wisdom of our commander-in-chief.”
However, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. of the opposition Magnificent Seven bloc said the special session should be held earlier to better assess the basis of an extension.
“There should be time for us to be apprised by the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] or Malacañang of the situation in Marawi and the entire island of Mindanao before we even consider an extension,” Baguilat said.
He added that there should be enough discussion and martial law should not be “forcibly passed on the same day.”
“If AFP proves Martial Law helped and they just could not fully control the situation, I might even agree to it,” Baguilat said.
Meanwhile, Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao of the militant Makabayan bloc said his group “will consistently register our opposition.” SFM
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