No need for Congress to convene on martial law report – Fariñas
There will be no need for Congress to convene this week to either approve or revoke President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law declaration, Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas said on Wednesday.
In a message to reporters, Fariñas said the President has expressed his desire to put in writing his report to Congress about his declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Thus, there is no need for both the House and Senate to convene in session if the President is not reporting in person to Congress, Fariñas added.
“Malacañang will send their report to Congress in writing. Thus, there will be no need for us to convene tomorrow (Thursday) or Friday. See you on Monday, except for those who will attend committee hearings tomorrow,” Fariñas said.
READ: Marawi mayor, cops holed up at city hall; tension down but threat not over | Martial law declared in Mindanao; Duterte to fly back home from Moscow
Under the 1987 Constitution, the President within 48 hours would report to Congress about the declaration of martial law. Congress voting jointly would then approve or revoke the martial law declaration in a majority vote of its members.
Representatives have come out to support the declaration of martial law for 60 days in Mindanao after the attack of the Maute group in Marawi City, reflecting what could be an overwhelming approval of the declaration once the President reports it to Congress.
Duterte has said his martial law would not be any different than that of the late dictator Marcos. He has always raised the specter of martial law to solve the country’s ills, including the drug menace.
“Martial law is martial law. So kayong mga kababayan ko, you’ve experienced martial law, it would not be any different from what the President Marcos did. I’d be harsh,” Mr. Duterte said in a Facebook live interview with Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.
He has also raised the possibility of putting the whole country under martial law if the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) infiltrates Luzon and Visayas. The President has also called Marcos’ martial law “good” for the country.
Due to lessons learned from the martial law regime of Marcos that was marked by human rights violations, torture, and enforced disappearances, the 1987 Constitution provided checks and balances by allowing Congress and the Supreme Court to step in on the martial law declaration.
According to the 1987 Constitution, the president as commander-in-chief of all Armed Forces may declare martial law or suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus to “prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion ” for 60 days subject to approval of Congress.
“In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law,” the Constitution stated.
The President is required to report within 48 hours about the declaration of martial law to Congress, which would then revoke or approve the proclamation in a majority vote.
“Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President,” it added.
Congress may also extend the proclamation or suspension of martial law upon the initiative of the President “if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it,” the Constitution stated.
The Supreme Court may also review the need for a declaration of martial law or suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus upon an appropriate proceeding filed by a concerned citizen.
The Constitution states that a state of martial law “does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.”
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