Who says yes/no on martial law extension

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines—There were 245 lawmakers who said yes Saturday  to extend martial law and suspension on writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao to contain the Marawi crisis.

The most lauded yes was from Tausug  partylist Representative Shernee Tan who explained her vote by saying “I am voting yes but also extend Martial Law not just in Mindanao but the entire country.”

The Senate and Houses of Congress held a joint session to act on the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend beyond July 23 the martial law declaration in Mindanao.

On Saturday, both chambers consumed eight hours to deliberate, discuss and explain their respective votes on the measure.

As a result, 261 voted to support the extension, 245 from the House of Representatives voted in affirmative, 14 rejected while 16 senators threw support with four rejection, Foru senators were absent during the session.

“The result of the voting in Congress show that 261 in the affirmative and 18 in the negative. The motion to extend proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus is hereby approved by the Congress,” Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said, reading the tally, before banging the gavel.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte wants martial law extended citing the need to contain the terrorist and other armed groups in Mindanao.- FILE Photo: Robinson Niñal/PPD

Who says yes?

Quezon City Rep. Vincent Crisologo said he voted yes to prevent the foreboding spread of the ongoing rebellion in the strife-torn Marawi City to Manila.

Crisologo said it was best to defer to the wisdom of the President, who has access to all information pertaining to the situation in the south.

“We’re not in a position to assess the situation because we don’t have the proper intelligence,” Crisologo said.

Cebu City Rep. Raul del Mar saw the existence of “sufficient factual basis” for the extension of martial rule in Mindanao in order to quell the threats of terrorism, which is “still very strong” in Marawi and Lanao del Sur.

Del Mar also echoed Crisologo’s fear that terrorism could have engulfed the entire Mindanao island and could have reached other island regions if martial law was not declared.

Iloilo Rep. Oscar Garin voted in favor of the martial law extension to give the government a “freehand” to restore order in Marawi City.

For his part, COOP NATCCO Partylist Rep. Anthony Bravo believes the extension of martial rule could facilitate government efforts toward the resolution of conflict in the southern region.

Senator Cynthia Villar voted to extend the period of martial law simply to “show support” to mostly young soldiers and to prevent movement of terrorist to and form Marawi City.

“They can put up check points and if they recognize terrorists in the check point, they could immediately arrest them,” Villar said.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, who also voted for the martial law extension, said that he trusted that the reports given by the Executive Branch showed that military had “not completely quelled the armed conflict in Marawi City.”

He said that the reason he voted for the extension was that there were “scattered armed groups not only in Marawi City but in other parts of Mindanao.”

“…It is evident that the rehabilitation and recovery of Marawi City cannot truly begin until the rebel groups and their networks are completely destroyed,” Gatchalian said.

The internally displaced persons getting rations from the social services department.-DSWD photo

NO VOTES

The House members who voted against the martial law extension were Reps. Gary Alejano, Lito Atienza, Teddy Baguilat, John Christopher Belmonte, Gabriel Bordado, Arlene Brosas, Ariel Casilao, France Castro, Sarah Elago, Emmi De Jesus, Edcel Lagman, Antonio Tinio, Tom Villarin, and Carlos Zarate.

In his no-vote explanation, Atienza said it was not in the intention of the Constitution to allow a 150-day extension of martial law in Mindanao, as it only allowed a period of 60 days “Extending it for 150 days is unthinkable if we wanted to strengthen the Constitution,” Atienza said.

Belmonte warned against the dangerous precedent of normalizing authoritarianism with the extension of martial rule for 150 days.

In opposing, Lagman said there was no sufficient factual basis for any extension since there was also no adequate factual anchorage in the original declaration of martial law, as he said  the coverage of martial law could not be extrapolated to the whole island of Mindanao where there was no actual rebellion as admitted by no less than the Martial Law Administrator and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Brosas said the martial law declaration itself stands out as the clear and present danger to the people of Mindanao.

Senate Minority Leader Drilon rejected the motion to extend martial law in Mindanao until year-end, saying  there was “no evidence” of actual rebellion outside of Marawi City citing a security report that the Marawi crisis  only affect 10 of the 37 provinces in Mindanao.

“The factual basis for continued martial law in Mindanao up to December 31 do not meet the requirements of the Constitution. Martial law will be declared only if actual rebellion exists and Congress may extend if that rebellion persists,” Drilon said.

Apart from Drilon, other Liberal party senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan also rejected the bill. -Editha Z. Caduaya/Newsline.ph/ with reports from PNA

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