Congress to convene on martial law extension Saturday

President Rodrigo Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao island on May 23 following the siege laid by the ISIL-linked Maute group in the city of Marawi.

“The Department of National Defense has submitted to the Office of the President its recommendation on July 13 whether or not to extend Martial Law in Marawi and the whole of Mindanao. We still have to account them, we should arrest them first”, he said. “We will listen, and see if indeed there is enough justification to warrant the extension of martial law in Mindanao”, Drilon added.

Duterte issued the proclamation for the Mindanao group of islands, including the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, on May 23 during an official visit to Russian Federation.

Soldiers and police have been trying to flush out remaining fighters for almost two months.

AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Jr. told reporters last week that they expect the submission of the recommendation to the President in one week. “If indeed some of our soldiers are found guilty of committing excesses under martial law, then we will not hesitate to administer the appropriate sanctions against these individuals, while ensuring that due process is followed”, the defense chief noted.

The imposition of martial law in Mindanao is set to be lifted on July 22 when it reaches the 60 day allowable period by the 1987 Constitution.

Dela Rosa earlier said the AFP and the PNP were inclined to ask for an extension, based on earlier discussions with AFP chief General Eduardo Año, the martial law implementor.

Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, spokesman for the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said the enemy’s strength has declined the past days considering that 405 of them have been killed as of yesterday morning.

Likewise, Dela Rosa also pointed out that other relevant government agencies and institutions have already submitted their respective recommendations to the Chief Executive for the latter to act on.

‘Yung mga identified na mga (The identified) narco-politicians who are believed to be supporting the cause of the Maute Group are still at large”.

Alongside the declaration of martial law, Duterte suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, giving more leeway for military and police to enforce warrantless arrests.