Sotto: Duterte asked for 60-day martial law extension

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 17) — President Rodrigo Duterte is asking Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao for 60 days and called for a special joint session this weekend to deliberate on this, a Senate leader said Monday evening.

Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto said the President asked Congress to convene in a joint session on Saturday to possibly endorse an extension of martial rule in the South amid operations to quell what remains of the rebellion in Marawi City led by the ISIS-inspired Maute group.

 

Proclamation 216, which declared martial law, will lapse on July 22 in line with the 60-day limit under the Constitution. Duterte issued the proclamation for the Mindanao group of islands, including the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, on May 23 during an official visit to Russia.

In a statement Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Congress must discuss the parameters to extend martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

"The President's call for a special session is necessitated by the exigency to deliberate on the possible extension of the period of effectivity of Proclamation 216, which will end next week," he said.

In a text message, House Majority Floor Leader Rudy Fariñas said the special session will convene at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 22, when martial law was supposed to end.

Read more: Abella: Duterte's martial law decision out on or before July 22

The Constitution states martial law may only be declared for the whole or parts of the country for 60 days. Congress must hold a joint session to either revoke or extend this period.

Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, who petitioned against martial law in the Supreme Court, said the session should have been declared earlier.

"There should be time for us to be apprised by the AFP or Malacanang of the situation in Marawi and the entire island of Mindanao before we even consider an extension," Baguilat said in a message. "Sana magkaroon ng sapat na talakayan. At hindi yung ipipilit na ipasa agad sa araw na iyon."

[Translation: There should be sufficient discussion on this.  We should not be forced to approve this on that day itself.]

The high court upheld the validity of Proclamation 216.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.