Philippines: Senate united on martial law extension, split over duration – 20 Jul 2017

  • Most senators emerged from a lengthy security briefing on 19 Jul 17 convinced that there was a need for an extension of martial law in Mindanao but divided on President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposal to stretch it until the end 2017.
  • Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the senators in general were supportive of the requested extension but he anticipated that the length and coverage would be the focus of the debate at the special joint session of Congress on 22 Jul 17.
  • He said senators commended the Armed Forces of the Philippines for implementing martial law in Marawi City and the rest of Mindanao without incidents of “any significant” human rights violations and abuse.
  • The security briefing, led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Ano and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, was held in an executive session in the Senate three days before Congress was to vote jointly on the request to extend martial law until 31 Dec 17.
  • Sen. Richard Gordon said he was supporting an extension but only for 60 days. “I go on the side of due diligence … but we will let them explain why we should extend it [until the end of the year],” he said in a separate interview.
  • Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said he favoured that martial law be “limited to directly affected areas and with a shorter expiry date.”

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