MANILA - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to possibly extend martial law in Mindanao anew will need the approval of the Congress.

“Kung hihilingin nila na i-extend, dapat humingi formally ng authority sa Kongreso na i-extend (If they wish to extend, they should formally seek authority from the Congress to extend it),” Drilon said in a radio interview over the weekend.

Drilon made this remark after Malacañang said it would accept the AFP recommendation for an extension of martial law amid prevailing security threats in the war-torn region.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, in a radio interview, said that it is up to President Rodrigo Duterte to decide on the AFP's recommendation to extend.

Drilon, however, said that Duterte himself knew that according to the Constitution, it is Congress that has the authority to extend the martial law.

“Hindi naman siguro gagawin ng pangulo na i-extend sa sarili lang niya, on his own account. Alam ng pangulo ang ating Saligang Batas, na ang mag-authorize sa extension ay ang Kongreso (I don’t think the President would extend it on his own. The President knows the Constitution, that the Congress is authorized to determine the need for an extension),” Drilon said.

The senator explained that Congress will decide “on the basis of the evidence presented” before deciding on the need to extend the martial law.

“Hihingin natin kung ano ang kanilang basehan bakit papahabain na naman itong martial law (Let us ask for their basis for extending martial law),” he added.

In July, Congress voted to extend martial law in Mindanao until yearend after the proclamation reached its 60-day constitutional limit. (Azer Parrocha/PNA)



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