Sotto warns of constitutional crisis over martial law debate

Senate Majority leader Vicente Sotto III is in favor of extending martial law in Lanao del Sur, however, it should be limited to the province and not in the entire Mindanao.

"Kung hindi pa talaga cleared, siguro I will be in favor of extending Martial Law in Lanao del Sur to lessen the apprehension of people," he said in a statement.

"There is a possibility that, yes, we might extend but it could probably be limited to Lanao del Sur or areas where there are no longer any possibilities of conflict kaya kailangan makumpleto muna yung information na makakarating sa amin," said Sotto.

He said that the Congress can easily approve by calling a special session provided that it will be presented with wide ranges of information.

"Madali (ma-approve ang extension) depende sa ipe-presenta at makikita naming assessment. Siyempre kailangan natin nang  mas malawak na impormasyon," he said.

Other than Sen. Tito Sotto, Senate President Koko Pimentel agreed that there should be an update on the timeline on the siege in Marawi City. The Senate is preparing to call for a security briefing regarding the situation in Marawi City.

Sen. JV Ejercito claimed that the Senate President has agreed for another briefing regarding the request for a 60-day extension for martial law perion in Mindanao at the end of the month and

"Before we decide, mas maganda kung meron kaming picture on what is happening in Marawi at present," he said and added that he is in favor of extending martial but this time, in a limited scope, keeping it within Marawi City or to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to “contain” the ISIS-inspired Maute group.

"I see the need also because of the terrain of Mindanao. It’s porous. It’s very hard to contain and identify rebels kasi iiwan lang yung armas, ang dali na mag-blend in (with the civilians)," he said.

"If defense officials ask for it —a few days or weeks or a month —for them to finish mopping operations, then I guess it would not hurt," he added.

Meanwhile, on Senator Chiz Escudero's part, he hopes that the legal advisers of will be more prudent rather than feeding him "trailblazing legal theories” that may raise more constitutional issues than settle them."

During the en banc session on Tuesday, the high court voted 11-3-1, where eleven are in favor of martial while three (Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa) wants the military rule to be confined within Marawi City. Associate Justice Marvic Leonen is the only one who opposed.

Source: INQ