Drilon emphasized that the additional one year is unconstitutional.
Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel (left) and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez struck their gavels as they finalize the decision of the joint session of the Senate and the House of Representatives to grant the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend Martial Law in Mindanao until the end of 2018 at the Plenary Hall in Batasang Pambansa, December 13.
Esperon says now is the ideal time to annihilate terrorist groups such as the Maute, Abu Sayyaf, even the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA).
He noted, among others, that of some 300 persons in an arrest list issued after martial law was declared, 185 remain at large and are believed to be recruiting and training new fighters and planning more attacks.
The President's request was based on the recommendations of the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) who still need more time to stop the continuing uprising in Mindanao and thwart any possible terror threat.
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Congress, in a special joint session in July, granted the extension of martial law until December 31 this year at the President's request.
Citing the security assessment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Lorenzana said extending martial law in Mindanao for another year will ensure total eradication of DAESH-inspired Da'awaful Islamiyah Waliyatul Masriq (DAWM), other like-minded local and foreign terrorist groups and armed lawless groups, and the communist rebels and their coddlers, supporters, and financiers.
DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio bared Monday that the City Government of Davao will not oppose President Rodrigo R. Duterte's plan to extend martial law in Mindanao, saying, "Wala man tay dili maayo nga experience sa martial law (We do not have any bad experience on his martial law)".
Duterte said placing Mindanao under martial law for another year will also prevent violent extremism from spreading to other parts of the country.
After the session, Esperon said he was confident he was able to convince the lawmakers to extend martial law until the end of 2018.
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"The government through Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana declared the rebellion in Marawi City to have been terminated and no longer exists. Together, we will prevail", he added.
Meawhile, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros said that martial extension will not address NPA's abuses. It is not a silver bullet or a quick fix for all of our social ills.
"We will be in danger of becoming the monsters that we seek to defeat, those who have no regard for law, order or respect for the constitution", Pangilinan said.
"I think the authorization of Congress to extend martial law is a foregone conclusion".
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