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.
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.