House leaders to support martial law extension

MANILA-- Two deputy speakers on Monday said members of the House of Representatives would most likely throw their support behind President Rodrigo Duterte should he request for an extension of martial law in Mindanao.

In a news conference, Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro said Congress may support the martial law extension, especially if its purpose to crush the threats of rising terrorism and restoring peace and order in the region has not been achieved.

"I can only surmise that lawmakers are out there to support the President's request because if they supported the proclamation of martial law and the basis for the proclamation is still there, including the fact that the purpose of declaring martial law has not yet been accomplished, I do not see of any reason why the Senate and the House of Representatives would withhold its support for an extension requested by the President," Castro said.

For her part, Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia would defer to the wisdom of President Duterte, who has access to all the information on the situation in the Southern Philippines.

"Kung kailangan i-extend and for how long, we leave that to the wisdom of the President and as to the area, the territories that need to be included, we leave that to the wisdom of the president," Garcia said.

"The House of Representatives has shown its full support and full confidence in the wisdom of the leadership of our commander-in-chief. And, so that whatever the president may deem necessary for the good of the country in the extension of martial law then the House of Representatives will stand fully in support of his decision," she added.

On May 23, President Duterte declared the entire Mindanao island under the state of martial law following clashes between government troops and members of the Maute group in Marawi City.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the President may only declare martial law in cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it. The effectivity of the declaration can only last for 60 days, and its extension requires the concurrence of Congress.

Source: Philippine News Agency