51 lawmakers sign anti-martial law resolutions

by Carmela Fonbuena, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak

Posted at Dec 09 2009 02:54 PM | Updated as of Dec 10 2009 02:03 AM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE)- A total of 51 lawmakers have signed resolutions calling for the revocation of Proclamation 1959 declaring martial law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in Maguindanao. 

Congress on Wednesday began the joint session on Proclamation 1959 imposing martial law in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao, where an election-related mass murder of 57 innocent civilians occurred last November 23.

At the Senate, 17 senators have signed resolution 1522 seeking to revoke Proclamation 1959. They are: Senators Francis Pangilinan, Benigno Aquino III, Manuel Roxas, Aquilino Pimentel Jr., Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Rodolfo Biazon, Francis Escudero, Panfilo Lacson, Jamby Madrigal, Miriam Santiago, Gregorio Honasan, Richard Gordon, Manuel Villar, Jinggoy Estrada, and Antonio Trillanes IV. 

In the House of Representatives, 34 members have signed separate resolutions against martial law in Maguindanao.

All in all, as of posting time, 51 lawmakers can be counted upon to vote for the revocation of martial law.

A majority vote of at least 147 members of Congress, voting jointly, can revoke martial law in Maguindanao.

Liberal Party (LP) spokesman Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III told reporters that 26 congressmen, including Akbayan Reps. Risa Hontiveros, Walden Bello, and ABA-AKO Rep. Leonardo Montemayor, have signed the LP-led resolution calling for the revocation of martial law.

Earlier, 8 representatives of leftist parties filed a resolution to revoke martial law.

Joint Resolution 52 seeks to convene Congress into a joint session to revoke Proclamation 1959 imposing martial law in Maguindanao. It was initiated by Bayan Muna representatives Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casiño, and Neri Colmenares, Gabriela representatives Lisa Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan, Anakpawis representatives Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod, and Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino.

Majority will favor martial law?

House Speaker Prospero Nograles earlier filed House Resolution 1525 supporting Proclamation 1959, but the resolution has not been circulated for signing. Nograles previously said he was confident that majority of congressmen are in favor of martial law.

Senators have conceded that the revocation of martial law will depend on the congressmen. There are 268 congressmen and 23 senators.

"The proclamation does not satisfy the constitutional requirements and lacks factual and legal bases to support its validity," the LP said.

Tañada said they will exert all efforts to ensure that martial law is revoked.

"I will focus on the actual bases of the proclamation, its constitutionality, and the possible human rights violations as a result of martial law. Let us not forget that during martial law, news can be blocked and rewritten according to what the military rulers say," Tañada said.  (by Carmela Fonbuena, abs-cbnNEWS.com/Newsbreak)