Congress tackles martial law extension

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 13 2017 09:09 AM | Updated as of Dec 13 2017 01:37 PM

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MANILA - The Senate and House of Representatives convened Wednesday a joint session to tackle President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao for another year. 

Duterte placed the restive south, home to 22 million people, under military rule after Islamic State sympathizers attacked Marawi last May 23. On his request, lawmakers had extended martial law until December 31. 

Marawi residents from 24 barangays located in the main battle area return to their city for the first time since the end of the war there, November 21, 2017. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The President on Monday asked Congress that martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao be extended until the end of 2018, arguing that extremists have been regrouping since the 5-month Marawi conflict ended in October. 

The approval from lawmakers is "a foregone conclusion," Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon told reporters on Monday. 

"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 lawmakers nonetheless are set to raise concerns against martial law extension, including the lack of a requisite armed uprising, Drilon said.