CONGRESS has voted overwhelmingly to extend martial law in Mindanao and suspend the writ of habeas corpus until December 31, 2017.
Sixteen senators voted for the extension while four rejected the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law for another five months, citing a rebellion threat from Islamist extremists.
Meanwhile, 245 lawmakers at the House voted in the affirmative while 18 said “no”.
Duterte requested the extension to suppress a supposedly continuing rebellion led by the combined forces of Maute group, Abu Sayyaf, Ansarul Khilafah Philippines and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
The majority number required for the approval of martial law is at 158.
Under the Constitution, the President can declare martial law for an initial period of 60 days and ask for its extension in case of rebellion, invasion or when public safety requires it.