Philippine Congress approves extension of martial law in Mindanao

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The Philippine Congress, in joint session, voted to approve the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2019.

“A further extension of the implementation of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao will enable the AFP, the PNP, and all other law enforcement agencies to finally put an end to the ongoing rebellion in Mindanao and continue to prevent the same from escalating in other parts of the country,” President Duterte said in his letter to Congress.

“We cannot afford to give the rebels further breathing room to regroup and strengthen their forces. Public safety indubitably requires such further extension in order to avoid the further loss of lives and physical harm, not only to our soldiers and the police, but also to our civilians,” he added.

Senate and House of Representatives joint voting result is 235-28-1. The House of Representatives voted 223 for the extension, 23 against. The Senate voted 12 for the extension, 5 against, and one abstained.

Senators Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Franklin Drilon, Francis Escudero, Risa Hontiveros, and Francis Pangilinan voted against, while Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto abstained.

Senators Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima, Loren Legarda Antonio Trillanes IV, and Joel Villanueva were not able to vote for various reasons.