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Majority of senators inclined to support martial law extension

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Many senators are reportedly receptive to the proposed extension of martial law but prefer to review the timeframe first.

Another round of briefing with President Duterte’s security cluster will be scheduled on Saturday on the security situation in Mindanao.

“Sa tingin ko marami ang supportive kasi nga mukhang justified naman yung reasons,” Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito said in an interview with reporters following a briefing in the Senate with top defense and security officials on the implementation of Proclamation 216 which will end on July 22.

“Until now there are no reports of atrocities and abuses on the part of government. If it will help restore peace and order in Mindanao makakatulong yan especially the movements of armed personnel like (the private armies of) war lords noon kasi nga bawal na movement ng firearms legal or illegal,” Ejercito said.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, in a separate interview, admitted that a number of senators are wary about the idea of having martial law extended for five more months. “Yung extension, mukhang majority would agree to extend but the period will be debated upon more tediously,” he said.

Minority Leader Franklin Drilon admitted that he’s inclined to support an extension of martial law but is yet to be convinced on having it for another five months saying that they will have to debate on it first.

“Let me state on record that, personally, I support our soldiers and what they are doing in the Armed Forces of the Philippines in implementing the martial law in Marawi and the rest of Mindanao. As you will note, there is no report of any significant human rights violation. In that sense we must commend them and we must continue to support them. I have proposed during the meeting that maybe we should come up a supplemental budget specifically for the rehabilitation of the Marwi city and in support of our armed forces,” Drilon said.

“Having said that, we are, in general, in support of the extension of the martial law. I’m inclined to support, but we debate on the length of the extension and the coverage, so that that is where the debate will center,” he added.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, for her part, said she will decide on the matter after security and defense officials has fully justified before Congress the need for the extension on Saturday, during the special session and joint proceedings with the House of Representatives.

“About the extension, marami pa akong itatanong. So yung dati kong tanong nung unang briefing nila ay itatanong ko pa rin sa special session. For one hindi ko pa masabing sumusuporta ako ng extension of whatever length. Kami sa min ay talagang makikinig at hihingi ng ulat nila tungkol sa current implementation,” she said.