MANILA - Two female senators on Tuesday gave different reactions to a proposal from Malacanang to extend martial rule in Mindanao until the end of the year.
Senator Risa Hontiveros warned about the dangers of extending martial law in Mindanao, saying reports of human rights violations have already reached her.
This, after Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella announced that President Rodrigo Duterte is asking Congress to extend martial law in the whole of Mindanao until December 31, 2017.
"Nasisilip natin sa kasalukuyang mga karanasan sa Marawi City mismo na lumalabas ang pag-uulat ng mga paglabag ng karapatang pantao doon," Hontiveros said Tuesday.
The opposition senator questioned the need to extend martial law in Mindanao, as the military and police had been effective in their mission in the past without the declaration.
She added that even Solicitor General Jose Calida previously admitted that there is "not much difference" between the President's power to call out the troops and martial law.
"Pati si SolGen Calida ay umamin na wala naman palang pagkakaiba itong martial law ni Presidente sa karaniwang kapangyarihan niya na calling out powers," she said.
Hontiveros said senators will be briefed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in an executive session on Wednesday. She is expecting an intensive discussion on their progress on the ground.
The minority senator is also hoping that lawmakers will allow for an exhaustive discussion on whether or not to extend martial law in Mindanao on Saturday's special joint session.
"Ang Kongreso, hindi fast food restaurant. Dapat sa ating mamamayan makarinig ng exhaustive, malalim at kritkal na pagtalakay ng Kongreso sa napakaimportanteng issue na ito," she said.
Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, said they want to hear all the sides of the stakeholders during the special session on the President's request to extend martial law in Mindanao.
Poe told ANC they would like to know about the claims of human rights violations under martial law straight from the Commission on Human Rights.
The senator said as much as she understands the concern of the President on the situation in Marawi City and the rest of Mindanao, she has been cautious about martial law because of the "lessons learned from the past."