ANY request to further extend martial law in Mindanao would not be easily approved this time around by Congress as senators are bound to closely scrutinize the gains earned in the previous extensions before another one can be granted, a senator said the other day.
“We have to take a closer look this time if Malacañang asks Congress to have another extension. Because of the length of time, there should have been substantial results,” said Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
“That’s why this time around, I don’t think it will be as easy as before. It’s not easy to get votes. They will have to justify more and convince us more than how they did it on the first and second extension,” he added.
Lacson was reacting to the statements made by top Armed Forces and National Police officials that they are mulling on recommending another extension of martial law in Mindanao.
They said the people’s will and the proximity of the 2019 elections are among the aspects being studied before coming up with a final recommendation.
President Duterte earlier said he would first wait for the recommendations of the AFP and PNP before he decides whether to lift or ask Congress for another extension.
Duterte imposed martial law in the entire Mindanao on May 23, 2017 when the Islamic State-inspired Maute group laid siege on Marawi CIty.
As provided under the Constitution, the declaration should only last 60 days.
At Malacañang’s request, the declaration was extended until the end of 2017.
Duterte requested and was granted another extension by Congress — this time until Dec. 31, 2018.
In both cases, the requests for extension were immediately approved by Congress. (PNA)