MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao should be looked at as a new proclamation, given the reasons he cited in his letter to the Congress, according to a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission.
Speaking to ANC Wednesday, lawyer Christian Monsod said the original martial law proclamation of Duterte last May only mentions the siege of Marawi City by terrorists, which has been over for more than a month now.
"From a procedural point of view, he's already mentioning new things that arose, and he's saying that we still need martial law. This should be looked at as something equal to a new declaration of martial law because it puts in other matters and other problems to be addressed more than what was said in the original proclamation," he explained.
Monsod was referring to the armed insurgency of the communist New People's Army that President Duterte cited in his letter to Congress, requesting the extension of martial law in Mindanao for one year.
The lawyer also believes that a one-year martial law extension in Mindanao is too long, given the siege of Marawi is over, there are no other actual armed uprising in other parts of Mindanao, and there are other means provided for by the Constitution.
"There are other weapons in the Constitution that we can use. It's too long if you're just going to mitigate. You cannot totally eliminate encounters all over the country because the social problems that are roots of these are all over the country," he said.
Monsod stressed that in order for the martial law extension to be granted by Congress it must first be proven that there is an actual armed uprising. He said sporadic clashes do not constitute actual rebellion.