PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has asked Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao beyond the 60-day period mandated by the 1987 Constitution.
Speaking to Palace reporters on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the President sought to extend martial law until December 31 this year.
Abella said Duterte explained that the "existing rebellion in Mindanao will not be quelled completely down until 22nd of July."
Duterte, in his letter, was quoted as saying: "For this reason and because public safety requires it, I call upon the Congress to extend until 31st December 2017 or for such a period of time as the Congress may determine the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao."
Abella said the Chief Executive would wait for Congress' approval on his intent to extend the martial law in the south.
"He (Duterte) said again and again that there's a looming situation in Mindanao which needs to be completely and totally addressed," the President's spokesman said.
The validity of martial law in Mindanao will end on July 22.
Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law after Maute terror group attacked Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, in an attempt to establish caliphate for Islamic State fighters in Southeast Asia.
Abella said Duterte will ask Congress for a special session on Saturday, July 22, to discuss the proposed extension of martial law
"The President's call for a special session is necessitated by the exigency to deliberate on the possible extension of the period of effectivity of Proclamation 216, which will end [this Saturday]," Abella said.
"Congress has to discuss and consider the actual parameters to extend martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus," he added. (SunStar Philippines)