PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has asked Congress to extend his declaration of martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2017, Malacanang said.
In a press conference on Tuesday, 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 provide under the Constitution.
“For this reason and because public safety requires it, I call upon the Congress to extend until 31st December 2017 or for such a period of time as the Congress may determine the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao,” Abella quoted the President as saying.
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 would require approval from both the Senate and the House, where Duterte counts most lawmakers as his allies.