MANILA - (UPDATED) Detained Senator Leila de Lima, former Solicitor-General Florin Hilbay and other legal luminaries on Tuesday petitioned the Supreme Court to compel lawmakers to review President Rodrigo Duterte's martial law declaration in Mindanao.
The Senate and the House of Representatives refused to convene jointly to review martial rule, which the President declared to contain ISIS-inspired militant attacks in the south.
"What we are asking is for the Congress to act in joint session and deliberate as one body, consistent with the intention of the Constitution... We believe that this is a mandatory requirement and a ministerial function on the part of the Congress," Hilbay said in a press conference.
"Therefore, the Supreme Court can order the Congress by writ of mandamus to perform that required function."
The petitioners also included former peace negotiator Alexander Padilla, former human rights commissioner Etta Rosales, former senator Rene Saguisag, former Commission on Elections chairman Christian Monsod and law professor Rene Gorospe.
Serving as counsels of the petitioners are Hilbay and former Akbayan Representative Barry Gutierrez.
Attached in the document were the names of over 330 lawyers who supported the petition, including former deputy House speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Tañada, Atty. Wigberto Tañada, Jr., and former deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.
NO LINK TO HOUSE MINORITY
The group distanced their petition from that of House minority members who challenged the legality of the martial law declaration before the SC on Monday.
Padilla noted that De Lima is the only legislator in the list of petitioners.
Hilbay meanwhile said their petition must be heard even if the President lifts the martial rule.
Duterte placed the entire Mindanao island under martial rule last May 23 following bloody clashes between government forces and Maute militants
The crisis has displaced more than 200,000 residents and has left dead 120 militants, 38 state troops and at least 20 civilians. -- With a report from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News