Legislators to question martial law extension before the Supreme Court

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 13) — Some legislators are planning to petition the one-year extension of martial law before the Supreme Court.

After the overwhelming vote of the Congress during the joint session on President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao on Wednesday, Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat said he will petition the decision.

"Now we bring the issue to the Supreme Court and we hope they can remove the blinders of ambition and absolute loyalty and protect our shrinking democratic space," he said in his Twitter page.

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman earlier said he will also question the martial law proclamation and extension before the high court.

Baguilat and Lagman have petitioned the first martial law extension before the Supreme Court. But the high court ruled to uphold the Congress' decision to allow the extension of martial law.

Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon also said the minority senators might elevate the issue to the Supreme Court.

Voting 240-27, lawmakers said there was sufficient reason to extend martial law. The session was held at the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City.

Fourteen senators voted for the extension. Four were against, namely, Drilon, Kiko Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, and Risa Hontiveros.

A total of 226 congressmen voted for the extension, while 23 were against it.

A majority vote of the two chambers voting jointly, or at least 158 of the 314 members of Congress, was needed to pass the motion.

Martial law in Mindanao was supposed to end on December 31, 2017. This was based on the first extension requested by the President when the initial declaration lapsed on July 23. Congress then extended it to July 22 to December 31. Martial rule was implemented in response to the terrorist attack in Marawi City. The siege lasted for five months.

On December 10, Duterte submitted a letter of request for another extension. He said martial law is needed to respond to attacks by local and foreign terrorist groups, as well as the "intensified" rebellion of the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the communist organization which has waged a 48-year-old insurgency.