ANY proposal to extend martial law in Mindanao must come solely from President Rodrigo Duterte who has access to vast intelligence on security matters, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd said on Saturday.
Pimentel issued the statement following Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s suggestion that martial law should be extended until 2022 to ensure the continued rehabilitation of Marawi City, speed up economic recovery and bring back law and order in the region.
In a radio interview on Saturday, Pimentel said the idea of extending martial law in Mindanao should not come from Congress.
“It should come from the President himself since he is the one who handles intelligence reports and under the Constitution there must be rebellion or invasion that necessitates the declaration of martial law,” Pimentel said.
“Let us wait for the assessment of the President.
“We cannot discuss the desirability to grant the extension or not without such assessment,” he added.
He however supported the proposal of Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito that the Senate again invite state security officials to brief lawmakers.
“We can ask for such briefing periodically. Let us say after 30 days we must ask for a briefing or after 55 days so that we will know the status of the implementation of martial law,” Pimentel said.
He said the Senate must determine whether the President was able to achieve his goal in declaring martial law in Mindanao, namely, to quell the rebellion waged by the Maute Group.