Duterte to ask Congress for 1-year martial law extension

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Rodrigo Duterte will be asking Congress to once again extend martial law in Mindanao, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas confirmed on Sunday, December 10. 

Fariñas, quoting Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, said a letter requesting for the extension of martial law, signed by Duterte, will be delivered to both the Senate and the House of Representatives by Monday, December 11.

In a text message to Rappler, Medialdea said they are asking for a one-year extension.

Fariñas said the House leadership will discuss the request and then confer with their Senate counterparts.

Asked if the Senate and the House would hold a joint session, Fariñas responded: "Same procedure we had when we extended it."

The two chambers of Congress had convened in a joint session last July 22, voting 261-18 in favor of Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31.

For that request, Duterte wrote a letter to Congressciting the "evolving" urban warfare in Marawi City. The war has since ended in the southern Philippine city, with combat operations declared over on October 23.

The vote to grant the extension back in July was not surprising since the President's allies dominate Congress. (LIST: How the 17th Congress voted on the martial law extension)

Duterte had declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 through Proclamation No. 216 after government troops clashed with terrorists from the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf Group in Marawi City.

The 1987 Constitution only allows the President to declare martial law for a maximum of 60 days. Any extension would require approval from Congress.

Congress is set to adjourn for a month-long break on Friday, December 15. – Rappler.com  

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.