Alvarez OK with 5-month extension of martial law, but 5 years better

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2017 06:10 PM

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Saturday said he was not fully satisfied with the Congress' decision to grant a 150-day extension for martial law in Mindanao.

"Nalulungkot (ako) dahil bilang isang taga-Mindanano, dapat in-extend ng limang taon," Alvarez said in an interview on ANC's Top Story.

Even prior to the congressional vote, Alvarez was vocal about wanting to place Mindanao under martial law until President Rodrigo Duterte steps down in 2022.

Earlier this month, the House Speaker said suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao may help suppress insurgencies in the Moro-dominated region.

But Alvarez said he saw no need to push for a 5-year extension during the special joint session held at Batasang Pambansa.

"General sympathy ay nandun sa request ng pangulo na 5 buwan lang. Masaya (na din) dahil na extend ng limang buwan," he said.

The Speaker added that the House of Representatives will fully support the executive branch once it asks Congress for a supplemental budget to fund military operations in war-torn Marawi City.

"Wala akong problema diyan, tutulungan natin iyan," he said.

Duterte first placed Mindanao under martial law in May after the Maute group went on a rampage in Marawi City in a bid to establish a "wilayat" or a province for the Islamic State.

Under the Constitution, the president may declare martial law for a period not exceeding 60 days in case of "invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it."

The Constitution, however, also states that “upon the initiative of the president, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.”

On Friday, Duterte said the fighting may soon be over as military officials said the combat zone in Marawi City was now limited to within three villages as 70 terrorists at most remain.