Congress adopts rules on special joint session

MANILA-- Both chambers of the Philippine Congress on Saturday adopted the proposed rules that would govern the special joint session on President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend the period of martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year.

Under the proposed rules, the presiding officers for the special joint session are the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Relevant agencies of the executive department shall report to the special joint session on the factual basis of Duterte's letter calling on Congress to extend the period of Proclamation No. 216 issued on May 23, 2017.

Any member of Congress may interpellate the resource persons for not more than four minutes, excluding the time of the answer of the resource persons.

The rules stipulate that Congress may decide to hold an executive session when the security of the State or public interest requires it.

Furthermore, a majority vote of all the members of Congress, voting jointly, shall be required to extend the period of the president's martial law declaration in Mindanao.

The Secretary of the Senate and the Secretary General of the House of Representatives shall alphabetically call the names of the Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives present, respectively, who shall answer 'ayes' or 'nays' upon being called, the rules read.

The presiding officers shall announce the results of the voting. After the announcement, any member who wishes to explain his or her vote is given a maximum of one minute.

The lower chamber took half an hour in deliberating upon the proposed rules as Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman proposed an amendment, wherein any member of Congress shall have the right to explain his or her vote upon casting the same for three minutes.

Lagman stressed the need to explain the vote so other members of Congress could assess the import or relevance of such explanation. House members, however, rejected Lagman's amendment.

Duterte declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao last May 23 shortly after members of the terrorist Maute Group laid siege to Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, and the 60-day period, as provided in the Constitution, lapses on Saturday.

Source: Philippines News Agency