House opposition to question Duterte's martial law before SC

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 30 2017 02:54 PM | Updated as of May 30 2017 03:56 PM

Opposition congressmen on Tuesday said there was a "very clear possibility" that they will file a resolution before the Supreme Court to question the legitimacy of President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

The president said the basis of the declaration "was more on imminent danger and invasion," but those clauses are no longer in our constitution, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman said in a press briefing.

Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under military rule last week after deadly clashes between government troops and the Maute terrorist group broke in Marawi City.

Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano, a former military man, said sources from the Armed Forces claimed security officials did not recommend the declaration of military rule despite the rising death toll in war-torn Marawi City.

"Did security officials recommend the declaration of martial law or was it the president's own decision? If the Armed Forces is saying that everything is under control, bakit pa tayo nagdedeclare ng martial law?" Alejano said.

The opposition lawmakers said they will also question the House's and Senate leadership's decision not to call a joint session for both chambers to discuss the proclamation of martial law.

"Bakit naman sila takot mag joint session? Bakit ba ayaw nila mag joint voting? Ano ba ang tinatago nila?" Lagman said.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said it was unnecessary to call for a joint session unless Congress decided that it will revoke the president's declaration. Each representative was instead given a copy of the president's martial law proclamation. 

"The only way to validate the respective positions of the House and Senate is to call for a joint session and have an absolute majority," Lagman said.

Meantime, the Senate has filed a resolution expressing support for President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the south.

At least 15 senators agreed that the acts committed by the Maute group was an attempt to remove part of Mindanao from allegiance to the Philippine government, an act that constituted the crime of rebellion, a ground for declaring martial law.

Despite the issuance of Senate Resolution 388, Lagman said more groups are planning to oppose Duterte's declaration.

"Marami pang ibang grupo ang nagplaplanong magfile ng petition... Palagay ko each group will want to file their own but the Supreme Court will subsequently consolidate all petitions," he said.