MANILA — House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Tuesday defended President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao, silencing off critics who are not from the region.
In a press conference, Alvarez said Mindanaoans feel that it was right for the President to put Southern Philippines under martial law, noting that most of the complaints are coming from critics in Luzon and Visayas.
“Kapag taga-doon (Mindanao) ka mapi-feel mo na kailangan talaga at tama yung ginawa ni President. Kapag hindi ka naman taga-roon… e medyo tumahimik ka nalang muna kasi concerned kami dun eh. Security namin yun eh,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez also noted that majority of Mindanao lawmakers from the lower chamber have already expressed support to the martial law declaration.
The Speaker reiterated that unless Congress seeks to revoke the President’s declaration of martial law, there is no need for the House and the Senate to hold a joint session.
Alvarez explained that there is no explicit provision requiring a joint session of the two Houses of Congress to approve such declaration.
“The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President,” the Constitution read.
“Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it,” it added.
The House will constitute itself as a Committee of the Whole on Wednesday to tackle the President’s report and decide whether it will move for the revocation of the proclamation.
Several members of the Cabinet and other concerned government officials will also appear before the House on Wednesday to answer questions from lawmakers on martial law and its implementation.
Last week, President Duterte declared the entire Mindanao island under martial law following clashes between government troops and members of the Maute group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
The violence started last Tuesday afternoon after the military conducted operations to flush out Isnilon Hapilon, a top terrorist suspect, from his hideout in Marawi City. Filane Mikee Cervantes/PNA-northboundasia.com