Congress has convened for a Special Joint Session in consideration of the extension of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus (allowing warrantless arrest) in Mindanao until end of the year.
Based on the Rules of the Special Joint Session adopted by both houses of Congress on Saturday morning, each lawmaker who wishes to question the merits or demerits of the proposed extended martial law by President Rodrigo Duterte will be allotted four minutes.
The same set of rules also states that members of the Senate and the House will vote jointly on whether to approve or amend the President’s proposal—a provision also provided for under the Constitution.
Under the Constitution, the President can declare martial law for an initial period of 60 days in case of rebellion, invasion or when public safety requires it.
The Constitution also allows the President to ask Congress for an extension even beyond 60 days, and Congress can extend such proclamation in a joint vote of the House and the Senate.
In President Duterte’s case, he declared martial law on May 23 to suppress a supposed rebellion led by terrorism Maute group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
In his letter to Congress for martial law extension, however, the President argued that rebellion from four groups—Maute, Abu Sayyaf, Ansarul Khilafah Philippines and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters—are yet to be suppressed and thus, the need for an extended martial law.