A 150-DAY extension of martial law in Mindanao is contrary to the 1987 Constitution, according to Rep. Jose “Lito” Atienza Jr. of Buhay Party-list.
During the special joint session of Congress on Saturday, the lawmaker asked what the constitutional basis of the five-month extension requested by President Rodrigo Duterte was.
Atienza asked: “Why are we requesting for an extension of 150 days from the original 60 days…Why not 60 days as required by our basic law of the land?”
“Kung ito po ay papayagan natin (If we will allow this), the very essence of the 1987 limitation will be defeated,” he said.
“Ang tanong ko po Mr. Speaker, ano po ba ang constitutional basis ng extension of 150 days which is contrary to the limitation in the Constitution that no president can declare martial law anymore beyond 60 days. E kung iyang extension mas mahaba…sa original 60 days, what will stop any president — I’m not talking even of President Duterte — but what would prevent a president again to extend…initial 60 days to 15 years..?” Atienza asked.
(“My question Mr. Speaker is, what is the constitutional basis of the extension of 150 days which is contrary to the limitation in the Constitution that no president can declare martial law anymore beyond 60 days. If the extension is longer…than the original what will stop any president — I’m not talking even of President Duterte — but what would prevent a president again to extend…initial 60 days to 15 years..?”)
In response, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said that they could not ask for an extension anymore after this one.
He said that “if we ask for a shorter period and we have not yet achieved what we want to achieve, we can no longer go back to Congress and ask for an extension. We’d rather ask for a longer period…we can no longer ask for an extension after this one.”
The President declared martial law in Mindanao after the Islamic State-linked Maute group attacked Marawi City on May 23. The proclamation is effective until 10 p.m. this Saturday.
Duterte is seeking an extension, saying that there was also a threat of rebellion from the Abu Sayyaf, Ansarul Khilafah Philippines and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters aside from Maute.
As of posting time, the House and the Senate are holding a special joint session to decide on his request.