Congress has approved President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2017.
Voting 261-18, the Senate and House of Representatives in a special joint session Saturday (June 22) agreed to extend the validity of Proclamation No. 216 declaring martial law in Mindanao and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in the island group.
Sixteen of 20 senators present during the session voted in the favor of extending martial law while four were against it.
Meanwhile, 245 House members agreed to Duterte’s request while 14 opposed it.
Those who opposed its extension in the Senate were Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senators Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan and Bam Aquino.
Senators Antonio Trillanes IV, Nancy Binay and Leila de Lima were absent during the session.
The voting was conducted after 28 lawmakers took the rostrum to interpellate Cabinet officials on matters related to the implementation of martial law and its extension.
Among the officials from the executive branch who faced lawmakers were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año.
The Senate and House held a joint session to discuss Duterte’s request for an extension of martial law ahead of its expiration on 10 p.m. today.
Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 due to the fighting between government forces and the Maute group in Marawi City.
The President and government officials have defended the declaration by saying that there is a rebellion that needs to be quelled in Mindanao.
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