PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress to extend his declaration of martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year, Malacanang said on Tuesday.
In a press conference, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte’s requested period of extension was made during his meeting with lawmakers, led by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, in Malacanang on Monday.
He said Duterte also requested that the Senate and the House of Representatives hold a special session to discuss this request.
In his letter sent to Congress leaders, Duterte admitted that the existing rebellion in Mindanao would not be quelled completely by July 22, the last day of the 60-day period provided under the Constitution.
“For this reason and because public safety requires it, I call upon Congress to extend until 31st of December 2017,” Duterte said.
The 1987 Constitution only allows Duterte to declare martial law for a maximum of 60 days or until July 22 in this case. Any extension will require approval from both the Senate and the House, where Duterte counts most lawmakers as his allies.