MANILA–Fifteen of 23 senators have signed a resolution expressing support for Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Senate resolution 388 was signed on Monday by most members of the majority bloc namely Senate Pres. Aquilino Pimentel III, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senate Pres. Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Richard Gordon, Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Manny Pacquiao, Joel Villanueva, Cynthia Villar and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Two majority bloc senators did not sign the resolution -Senators Francis Escudero and Grace Poe.
In the resolution, the 15 senators agreed that “the acts committed by the Maute group are an open attempt to remove from the allegiance to the Philippine government the part of Mindanao and deprive the Chief Executive of its powers and prerogatives to enforce laws of the land and to maintain public order and safety in Mindanao, hence constitutes the crime of rebellion.”
The 15 senators also found the declaration to be “satisfactory, constitutional and in accordance with the law” and did not intend to revoke it.
“…The Senate finds the issuance of Proclamation No. 216 to be satisfactory, constitutional and in accordance with the law. The Senate hereby supports fully Proclamation No. 216 and finds no compelling reason to revoke the same,” the resolution said.
To support the declaration of martial law, they cited a series of violent acts committed by the Maute group such as the attack on the military output in Butig, Lanao Del Sur in February 2016 and the recent incident where the group took over a hospital in Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur in May 23, 2017. The group also burned down government and private facilities and raised the flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in several areas.
Meanwhile, the Senate minority bloc filed a separate resolution to convene the Congress in a joint session to deliberate of Pres. Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Deputy minority leader Sen. Francis Pangilinan, said that the resolution was signed by all members of the minority bloc namely himself, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes IV.
“…It is incumbent upon both the Senate and the House of Representatives to conduct a joint session for the purpose of determining the constitutional and factual validity of the proclamation of preventing abuses in its implementation and ensuring the safety of the people of Marawi and the whole of Mindanao,” the minority bloc said in their resolution.
In an interview with reporters, Pangilinan said this simply meant that the joint session is necessary to put “officially on record” the steps the executive department took in determining the need for martial law in Mindanao.
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte last week placed the entire Mindanao island under martial law for 60 days to suppress terrorist groups from wreaking further havoc in Southern Philippines.