Security, Palace officials brief senators on martial law extension

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 12 2017 11:07 AM

MANILA - Led by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Malacañang and security officials held a closed door meeting on Tuesday to brief senators on President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao.

Also present in the meeting at the Senate were National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Armed Forces chief of staff General Rey Guerrero and Interior Undersecretary Eduardo Año. 

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III , Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Risa Hontiveros, Panfilo Lacson and Bam Aquino also attended the briefing. 

Congress is set to hold a joint session on Wednesday to tackle Duterte’s request for extending martial law for one more year. 

The approval from lawmakers is "a foregone conclusion," Drilon told reporters ahead of the security briefing. 

"Congress is a political body, the President has supermajority in both houses. Therefore, it is expected notwithstanding our reservation and opposition, [that] Congress will authorize the extension of martial law," he said. 

Minority senators will nonetheless raise constitutional issues against Duterte's request, including the supposed lack of a requisite armed uprising, Drilon said. 

Duterte placed restive Mindanao, home to 22 million people, under military rule after Islamic State sympathizers attacked Marawi. 

The President on Monday asked Congress to extend martial law, which was due to be lifted on December 31, arguing that extremists have been regrouping since the 5-month Marawi conflict ended in October. 

With reports from Zandro Ochona and Sherrie Ann, ABS-CBN