Philippine lawmakers voted to extend martial law in Mindanao to end of this year

Congress of the Philippnes on Saturday (July 22) voted to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2017, Inquirer.net reported.

The Senate and House of Representatives convened in a special session Saturday morning to discuss President Rodrigo Duterte’s request for the extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2017,

According to the 1987 Constitution, Congress should vote jointly in a special session to determine the period of extension of martial law, but only upon the initiative of the President.

A total of 261 members of the Congress (both House and Senate) overwhelmingly voted to extend the Mindanao martial law, while only 18 voted against it.

“The result of the voting in Congress show that 261 in the affirmative and 18 in the negative. The motion to extend proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus is hereby approved by the Congress,” Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said, reading the tally, before banging the gavel.

The vote came as troops continued their two-month long fight to wrest back the southern city of Marawi from Islamic State-inspired militants.

Duterte first declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 shortly after the gunmen, waving the black flags of the IS group, occupied parts of Marawi, triggering weeks of bloody fighting.