MANILA-- Congress will likely heed President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao if he asks for it, House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. said on Monday.
Andaya made the remark following Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff, Gen. Carlito Galvez's statement that they will recommend the extension of martial law in Mindanao for another year. The proposed extension is aimed at reducing or eliminating terrorism threat on the island.
Andaya said Congress' concurrence would be expedited if the law enforcers continue observing the safeguards of the Constitution to prevent rights abuses.
"If the President will ask for it (martial law extension), then chances are it shall be given," Andaya said.
"The concurrence will be expedited if the military and the police will renew their commitment to respect the constitutional rights of every individual in the territory covered by the declaration," he added.
The House leader said the inputs and views of the congressmen from Mindanao, who represent the people directly affected, will "carry much weight" during the deliberations on granting the extension.
Galvez said there is clamor for a martial law extension, considering that "terrorism is still lurking in the area."
Galvez added that their recommendation will be submitted to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and most probably during the command conference with the new AFP chief this coming Dec. 12 after which their findings will be presented to the President.
Malacañang earlier said it would depend on the recommendation of the AFP on whether martial law will be extended after the end of the year. Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the Maute Group in Marawi City.
The House of Representatives, in a special joint session in July last year, granted the extension of martial law until Dec. 31, 2017 at the President's request.
The Senate and House of Representatives, convening in a joint session early December, granted the Chief Executive's request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a year, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018. (PNA)
Photo from Inquirer