Another petition was filed with the Supreme Court (SC) Wednesday urging the high court to order Congress to convene in joint session to review President Rodrigo Duterte's martial law declaration in Mindanao following clashes between Islamist militants and government troops.
"The declaration of martial law is an extreme measure, and based on the reports we have received.is a reaction disproportionate to the situation", read a statement by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) issued on June 6.
Congress, however, may still jointly convene and vote on the extension of the effectivity of the proclamation, he said.
The petition filed Monday by six House lawmakers said there was no revolution or invasion where public safety required the declaration of martial law and the proclamation contained "fatal inaccuracies and falsities". "What the Constitution requires is not so much for Congress to exercise its discretionary veto powers but for Congress to perform, in joint session, its constitutional obligation to review the act of the President", they pointed out.
The petitioners stressed that the constitutional mandate of the Senate and the House under Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution can not be legally carried out by a separate briefings given by the Executive Branch and the Armed Forces to both Houses of Congress.
The SC, on the other hand, can invalidate the declaration within 30 days after a petition challenging its legality is raised. For this, the SC had set oral arguments on June 13, 14, and 15. As the 1987 Philippine Constitution also provides for what we can call a "Supreme Court" safeguard, the "court of last resort" can rule against the matter through its decision on the question of a group of lawyers on the constitutionality of the martial law declaration.
Petitioners said that the President's power to declare martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus are powers that could have severe consequences including potential suppression of the basic civil rights.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said there is no basis for the petition as Congress has "effectively voted to support" the proclamation. The Associated Press (AP) was allowed to air the video showing the leaders of the Maute Group with their IS contacts mapping out their plans for the Marawi City siege. "They have to follow the process", Hilbay said. He cut short his trip after learning what happened in Marawi City.
Named respondents were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. Only two members from the majority group-Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero-did not sign the resolution.
They explained that Congress, voting jointly to determine whether the proclamation of martial law and or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is valid or not is considered the "first line of defense" against possible repeat of the martial rule of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
A similar petition was filed on Tuesday by detained Senator Leila De Lima, former Senator Rene Saguisag, former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Etta Rosales, former Commission on Elections chairman and constitutionalist Christian Monsod, lawyer Alexander Padilla, and Rene Ballesteros.