Sotto warns of constitutional crisis over martial law debate
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III warned on Tuesday of a constitutional crisis should the Supreme Court and Congress differ on the issue of calling a joint session to tackle the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
“I think the SC (Supreme Court) will simply say Congress has already decided,” Sotto said when asked to comment on a petition filed at the Supreme Court by the House minority bloc. “Now, in the event SC says Congress should convene in a joint session and Congress does not agree, who will enforce the order?”
“I think the petition is courting a constitutional crisis,” he added.
The petitioners, led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, is asking the high tribunal to compel Congress to deliberate in a joint session the martial law declaration in Mindanao.
Asked if there was a possibility the Senate would defy the SC should it order the convening of a joint session, Sotto said: “Meron, because we have already settled that issue.”
But the Senate, voting 12-9, had already junked the minority group’s resolution calling for a joint session of Congress to tackle the martial law declaration. Sotto was among those who voted to junk the resolution.
The nine senators who voted in favor of a joint session were minority bloc members Franklin Drilon (Senate minority leader), Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Antonio Trillanes IV and majority bloc members – Ralph Recto (the Senate president pro tempore), Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Grace Poe.
Earlier, Senate President Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III said the Supreme Court should act as “referee” in case there would be different interpretations of the Constitution.
“If there are differing interpretations of a constitutional provision, then the Supreme Court should step in as the referee,” Pimentel said in a text message to reporters.
“Let us be guided by the Supreme Court pronouncement on the issue,” the Senate leader added. /atm/rga
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