MANILA - Senate President Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Wednesday said there is no need for the Senate and the House of Representatives to convene in a joint session if the majority of its members agree with the declaration of martial law.
Speaking on ANC, Pimentel explained the steps that Congress has to take following President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
He said a joint session is needed if the members disagree with the declaration.
"Once the report is submitted to us, we have to go over the report. And if, let us say, we disagree with the imposition of martial law, we have to express our stand in a joint voting, so that means joint session," Pimentel said.
"That means that Congress, in a joint session assembled, disagrees with the imposition of martial law or with the continuation of martial law, hence, our ruling is, as of of this date, this has to stop, if should that be the sentiment," he added.
If the members of the Congress, however, agree with the declaration, Pimentel said there is no need for a joint session.
"But if the sentiment is we agree, then the question now is do we need to still assemble in joint session just to express our sentiment that we agree. I don't think we have to do that," Pimentel said.
He said the initiative to ask for an extension of martial law will come from the president.
"But let us say we do not disagree, hence the martial law situation continues, and let us say it is nearing its deadline set in the proclamation which should not be more than 60 days, the Constitution says the initiative to ask for the extension or the prolongation of the situation of martial law must come from the president and he will ask for authorization from Congress, and the authorization also to be expressed in a joint session," he explained.