Extension granted | Daily Tribune – Without Fear or Favor

Bordey, H. (2018, December 13). Extension granted. Daily Tribune – Without Fear or Favor. Retrieved March 14, 2019 from https://tribune.net.ph/index.php/2018/12/13/extension-granted/

Extension granted
By Hananeel Bordey – December 13, 2018 12:07 AM

The 17th Congress in joint session yesterday approved the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao as requested by President Duterte to defeat terrorism and end all armed threats to the state.

In a statement that apparently convinced Congress on the necessity of an extension, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea cited “essential facts” indicating strong threats in the provinces of Mindanao.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the reality that Mindanao is still in the midst of a rebellion,” Medialdea stressed.

“Upon an extensive personal evaluation (of the President) on the current situation in Mindanao and taking to account the security assessments of Department of National Defense (DND) as martial law administrator, the chief of staff of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as martial law implementer, the National Security Adviser, the NICA (National Intelligence Coordinating Agency) and chief of National Police, (it was) concluded that rebellion in Mindanao still subsists,” Medialdea said.

He said there were significant achievements that decreased the threat of terrorism during the implementation of martial law. However, the call for Congress to extend Proclamation 216 in Mindanao was intended “to put a decisive end to this ongoing rebellion and remove the long-standing obstacle.”

Solid numbers

Twelve senators voted in favor of the extension while five others voted against it and one abstained.

On the other hand, 223 members of the House of Representatives voted yes while 23 others went against the extension without any abstention.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III led the 12 senators who voted for the extension of martial law.

The others were Senate Majority Floor Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villar, Grace Poe, Aquilino Pimentel III, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sonny Angara, Win Gatchalian and Manny Pacquiao.

Those who voted against the martial law extension were Senate Minority Floor Leader Franklin Drilon, Liberal Party president Sen. Francis Pangilinan and LP members Bam Aquino and Risa Hontiveros and Sen. Chiz Escudero.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto abstained.

Opposition Senators Leila de Lima, who is detained at the Custodial Center in Camp Crame, and Antonio Trillanes IV, who is out of the country, did not take part in the voting.

Sotto said Senators Nancy Binay and Joel Villanueva did not take part in the voting since “they had to leave” while Sen. Loren Legarda was indisposed.

On the other hand, Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led House members in voting in favor of the extension.

Third time’s a charm

Mr. Duterte asked Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao for the third time upon the recommendation of the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

During a briefing with the senators, the AFP and the PNP justified their recommendation by citing the continuing threat being posed by terrorist groups, like the New People’s Army (NPA), Abu Sayyaf, the Maute group and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

The security cluster promised to defeat the Abu Sayyaf within the one-year extension.
The President declared martial law in Mindanao for six months starting on 23 May 2017 hours after elements of the Islamic State-inspired Abu Sayyaf-Maute group laid siege on Marawi City.

The declaration was extended even after Marawi City was liberated from the terrorists on 23 October 2017 before Congress approved the one-year extension that will expire this 31 December.

The fresh one-year extension will lapse on 31 December 2019.

From all fronts

Approved was Resolution of Both Houses 16 informing the President that they have convened in a joint session to consider his request on the extension of military rule in Mindanao.

He said the extension of martial law was due to the remnants of terrorist groups, Daulah Islamiah and Abu Sayyaf, who have continued with their political thrust of establishing a Wilayah, or an administrative region, in the Philippines as part of pretended global caliphate, which is a state ruled by an Islamic leader.

Medialdea also cited BIFF who “have remained adamant in their pursuit of establishing independent Islamic state” and these were “further worsened” with the presence of other foreign terrorist elements who “despite difference in ideologies, share the same purpose of overthrowing our government.”

No show of weakness

He added the communist terrorist groups – Communist Party of the Philippines, National Democratic Front and NPA — have carried their armed struggle in pursuit of overthrowing the government.

According to the Executive Secretary, Mindanao has been the hotbed of communist insurgency in the country and the government cannot afford to show the enemies a moment of weakness.

“You will be assured that the current martial law will be implemented in a very disciplined way, free from abuses and always abiding by the rule of law,” he told Congress.

with Mario J. Mallari

Published in Headlines | Daily Tribune – Without Fear or Favor

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