MANILA — The Philippine Congress, during a special joint session on Saturday, voted to extend the period of martial law until the year-end.
Results of the joint voting showed that 261 lawmakers voted in the affirmative while 18 lawmakers voted in the negative.
On the part of the Senate, 16 senators voted in favor of the motion, while four were against it. Meanwhile, 245 House members approved the motion, while 14 rejected it.
In the Senate, it was Senator Gringo Honasan who motioned to extend the period of martial law to five months.
The senators who voted against Honasan’s motion were Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan.
Senators Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV were absent.
Before voting took place, Drilon proposed to make amendments to Honasan’s motion by limiting the extension of the period of martial law to 60 days instead of five months. However, Honasan rejected his proposal.
The Senate, meanwhile, voted to reject Drilon’s amendment. It was not clear how many voted against Drilon’s amendment.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III then moved for nominal voting among senators on the proposed extension of the period of martial law in Mindanao.
“Martial law in Mindanao involves both risk and opportunity but we can manage both,” Honasan said.
Honasan, an ex-military man, acknowledged that although there was potential for martial law to be abused, he believed that there were mechanisms for prevention within the Congress’ control.
“Terrorism will not begin and end in Marawi. Armed conflict for legitimate reasons did not start and will not end in Mindanao,” he added.
In the House, it was House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas who motioned to extend the period of martial law to five months. Azer Parrocha and Filane Cervantes/PNA-northboundasia.com