MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal adviser on Wednesday clarified that if Congress does not extend the period of martial law, the Chief Executive could issue another proclamation to once more place Mindanao under martial law.
“If Congress does not extend on the 60th day upon initiative of the President then there can be no extension. Another proclamation is necessary,” Chief Presidential Legal Counsel said in a statement.
Under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the President, as commander-in-chief, may “in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it” suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the country under martial law.
The period covered should, however, not exceed 60 days.
Within 48 hours after its declaration, the President shall submit a report “in person or in writing” to Congress.
The declaration should be affirmed by Congress and could even be reviewed by the Supreme Court in an “appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen.”
Congress then has the power to revoke the proclamation by a vote of at least a majority of all members of both the Senate and the House.
On the other hand, Congress can also — if requested by the President and if public safety requires it — extend the period of martial law beyond 60 days.
President Duterte, through Proclamation 216, placed the entire Mindanao under martial law on the night of May 23 following an attack by the Maute terror group in Marawi City.
The declaration was affirmed by the Supreme Court on Tuesday with 11 magistrates voting in favor of martial law, three voting that martial law should be limited only to Marawi City and one justice saying martial law has no factual basis.
The 60-day period prescribed by law will lapse on July 22 and according to Panelo, Congress must approve an extension, otherwise, a new proclamation is needed to place Mindanao under martial law anew.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have said that they are still assessing the situation in Mindanao, adding that it is still too early to give any recommendation to President Duterte. Cielito Reganit/PNA-northboundasia.com