DUTERTE TO DECIDE ON EXTENSION
SPEAKER TOLD: YOU ARE NOT THE PRESIDENT
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Malacañang on Monday, July 10, stressed that the decision to extend martial law rests on President Rodrigo Duterte and not on House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
“Extending martial law is the decision of the President which PRRD said would rest on the assessment and the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other stakeholders of the Marawi situation,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
A veteran legislator has also chided Alvarez for encroaching into the powers of President Duterte by pushing for the extension of Martial Law to 2022.
Abella’s statement and and the reaction of Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman followed remarks by Alvarez who said that he would push for a five-year extension of martial law.
“If I can convince my colleagues, I will push for an extension until 2022, because two months is too short. Five months or one year or two years is too short,” Alvarez said.
Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216 declaraing Martial Law in Mindanao on May 23 after terrorist groups attacked and occupied Marawi City in Lanao del Sur in western Mindanao..
Alvarez (1st District, Davao del Norte), said on Saturday, July 9, that he would “push for an extension” of martial law up to 2022, at the end of President’s term.
Alvarez made the statement ahead of July 22, when the 60-day constitutional limit of the proclamation expires.
To Lagman, Alvarez, with his statement, was acting presidential, encroached into the powers of the President and preempted the decision of Duterte on whether or not to extend Martial Law.
Lagman said only the President, not Alvarez or other legislators, can “nitiate” the extension of Martial Law in Mndanao.
The Constitution requires that the President may initiate extension of the proclamation to be approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives in a joint session.
“Why are some senators and representatives talking about extending martial law in Mindanao when the President has not even officially initiated such extension?” said Lagman.
“Under the Constitution, while an extension needs the concurrence of the absolute majority of the members of the Congress voting in joint session, any such extension shall be upon the initiative of the President,” he added.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is already finalizing its recommendations on the possible extension or lifting of martial law.
“It’s already being done and in a few days it will be submitted to the (Executive) Secretary for his consideration because he is the administrator of martial law. And that recommendation will make its way up to the Commander-in-Chief who will be provided an advance copy,” AFP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Resituto Padilla Jr. said during the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañang.
He said that the final assessment would be based on whether the rule of law as well as peace and security in most parts of Mindanao had been reestablished.
The AFP official likewise stressed however that whatever recommendations the military submit, the final decision is up to President Duterte.
“The Department of National Defense or the AFP could only recommend, pero ang eventual decision ay kinakailangang manggaling sa political leadership na merong mas malawak na pinag-iisipang o pinagbabatayan ng kanilang desisyon,” Padilla said. (Source: PNA, Rappler)