Speaker sees Congress voting for martial law extension

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 18 2017 11:02 AM | Updated as of Jul 18 2017 11:28 AM

MANILA - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is positive that majority of the lawmakers from both the House of Representatives and the Senate will vote to extend martial law in Mindanao.

This, after President Rodrigo Duterte called for a special joint session of Congress to consider the extension of military rule in the southern Philippine island. 

"Nakita naman natin in all surveys talagang pabor ang taumbayan sa declaration of martial law sa Mindanao. Na-appreciate nila kung gaano kabigat 'yung problema," he told DZMM on Wednesday. 

The Mindanao lawmaker stressed the importance of martial law even if the war in Marawi City ends because the threat of terrorists attacking other areas in the island remains.

Alvarez said Congress' special joint session will be conducted at the House of Representatives on Saturday, the day the declaration of martial law lapses. 

Asked for the length of the extension, Alvarez said as far as his understanding of the Constitution goes, it would be up to Congress to decide on the matter.

"Sa pagka-intindi ko kung walang nakalagay na limit [sa Constitution] depende na ho sa Kongreso kung gaano nila puwedeng i-extend ang martial law," he said.

Duterte declared martial law for the entire Mindanao island on May 23, following clashes between government troops and Maute terrorists in Marawi City.

As of July 9, the death toll in the Marawi crisis had reached at least 500, with at least 379 terrorists, 89 soldiers, and 39 civilians killed.