MALACANANG has asked the Senate for an audience in the coming week to discuss “the situation” in Mindanao, which has been under martial law since May 23 due to the crisis in Marawi City, a senator said.
Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd disclosed on Saturday that a Palace official contacted him recently and told him that Malacanang wanted to schedule a meeting with the senators.
He clarified that the Palace arranged the meeting with the Senate prior to the suggestion of Minority Leader Franklin Drilon for President Rodrigo Duterte to first inform Congress if he would extend martial law in Mindanao.
“Before that suggestion came out, I was already informed by the Palace that they want to talk. So, that’s okay,” Sotto said in a radio interview.
Asked when the meeting will take place, the senator said, “Sometime late next week.”
“I was asked to inform the other leaders or other members of the Senate that the Palace is requesting for a meeting,” he added.
Asked whether the official mentioned about the extension of martial law during the scheduled meeting, Sotto said, “The extension (of martial law) was not mentioned.”
The senator said the official merely told him that the agenda would be the “situation in Mindanao and probably leave the decision to us whether to extend (martial law) or whatever.”
“Or, the Palace might tell us, ‘Oh, This is it.’ We can never tell. It’s difficult to guess,” Sotto said.
The President issued Proclamation 216 on May 23 placing the southern Philippines under martial law to quell the rebellion of the Islamic State-linked Maute extremist group. The validity of the declaration will end on July 22.