Congress convenes joint session to discuss proposed ML extension

MANILA — Both chambers of the Philippine Congress on Saturday officially convened in a special joint session to deliberate and vote on President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend the period of martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year.

The session started at about 9 a.m. and was attended by at least 14 senators and 242 congressmen.

Both chambers moved to adopt their respective resolutions on Duterte’s request.

The session was later suspended for three minutes after Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman requested for time to review the new rules in relation to how the voting should take place.

Some senators and congressmen earlier said that they were inclined to vote for the extension of the period of martial law but had to deliberate on the length of coverage.

Communication Secretary Martin Andanar earlier said Malacañang is “optimistic” that Congress will approve the president’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year.

Duterte declared martial law in the whole of Mindanao last May 23 shortly after members of the terrorist Maute Group laid siege to Marawi City in Lanao del Sur, and the 60-day period, as provided in the Constitution, lapses on Saturday. ANP/FMC/