MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Friday that Congress should await input from the Office of the President on the need to extend the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.
“We in Congress cannot pre-empt the decision of the President and convene at this time, when he has yet to make up his mind on the issue,” Alvarez said in a statement.
Quoting the Constitution, he said the relevant provision 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.”
“This provision says the President shall initiate the process of extending the martial law declaration beyond 60 days. What this implies is that he would have to consult the AFP and the PNP if the situation on the ground warrants the lifting of martial law,” he added.
Duterte had earlier raised the possibility of extending martial law as fighting continues in Marawi City to neutralize the Maute terrorist group.
The extension of the declaration will then depend on the approval of Congress.