Pimentel, Alvarez: Martial law extension needed in Mindanao

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 21) — Senate President Koko Pimentel says he predicts that most lawmakers would agree to an extension of martial law in Mindanao.

"Pagdedebatehan na lang (What would be debated on is) duration of extension," Pimentel told CNN Philippines' chief correspondent Pia Hontiveros during a one-on-one interview aired Friday evening.

He explained that quelling the rebellion in Marawi City was the original objective of the declaration -- and the fact remained that it was still ongoing.

The senate president said he would agree to a 162-day extension of military rule in the south.

"Yes, until December because I will give weight to the request of the President because he has been briefed by the police and the military."

Tomorrow, Pimentel said, the five-month extension was the only item up for discussion among the over 300 lawmakers.

Regarding the issue of both houses of Congress voting jointly, Pimentel said there was nothing that could be done to change this as it was provided for in the constitution.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Bebot Alvarez shared similar sentiments.

Personally, Alvarez said, he would want a five-year-long martial rule to give the President enough time to address the rebellion in Mindanao, and in other parts of the country as well.

"The five-year extension I proposed is my personal view," Alvarez clarified in another one-on-one interview with Hontiveros.

He said that aside from the Marawi situation, there were also communist rebels and other extremist groups that have cropped up.

Coming from Mindanao himself, he said there was a need to place the entire region under military rule as common sense dictated it was needed to cordon off the island so that terrorists could not slip outside Marawi.