SENATE President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd will take his chance on July 17 to ask President Rodrigo Duterte whether he intends to extend martial law in Mindanao.
Pimentel, to be accompanied by some colleagues from the Senate majority bloc, will witness the submission of the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on July 17 in Malacanang. He will meet with the President after the event.
Asked whether his meeting with the President on Monday was scheduled to discuss the martial law extension, Pimentel said: “No. There’s no fixed agenda. But since we’re there already we might discuss other things.”
Pressed whether he would take the opportunity to ask the President if he wanted to request for an extension, Pimentel said, “Yes. That will be discussed. That’s the 55th day anyway. If we have a lot of time, we can talk about a lot of things.”
“I want to attend the BBL submission, which is at 4 o’clock. The President said he is free (afterwards). We can have up to dinner or all night (to discuss martial law),” Pimentel said.
The President declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 to quell the rebellion by the Maute extremist group. The validity of Proclamation 216 placing Mindanao under martial law ends on July 22.
Under Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, the President, in case of invasion or rebellion, when public safety requires it, “may, for a period not exceeding sixty (60) days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.”
It also provides that Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.” BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO