Lagman asks Congress: Where’s martial law reso?
House leaders asked: Where’s the joint resolution extending martial law?
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman raised questions on Friday regarding the joint resolution that should have been prepared following the approval by the Senate and the House of Representatives of President Duterte’s request to extend the validity of Proclamation No. 216.
In a statement, Lagman said the secretariats of both chambers were “in a quandary as to the whereabouts” of the resolution reflecting Congress approval of the yearlong extension of martial law in Mindanao from Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2018.
“After sacrificing the Constitution to the altar of presidential importuning by extending baselessly martial law at the President’s behest, legislative high priests and their acolytes took a long nap without preparing and enrolling the necessary joint resolution,” he said.
Lagman quoted House Secretary General Cesar Pareja as saying in a Dec. 20 text message that his “office is still coordinating with the Senate on the reconciled version of the resolution.”
Routed for signature
On the other hand, Senate Secretary Lutgardo Barbo sent Lagman on Dec. 21 a text message stating that the “House has not yet transmitted to us” as “Bills and Index was informed it was being routed for signature by House officials.”
The Senate and the House convened in joint session on Dec. 13 and voted, 240-27, to extend the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the writ of the privilege of habeas corpus in Mindanao to give the government more time to address security threats in the region.
“It took the joint session only a few hours to vote for the extension of martial law based on a verbal motion without circulating any copy of a written joint resolution,” Lagman said.
“It is now taking the House and Senate officials too long to prepare and enroll the requisite joint resolution,” he added.
Asked for comment, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said there was no need to rush the enrollment of the joint resolution.
“The first extension granted by Congress will expire on Dec. 31, 2017. Since this joint resolution will take effect only on Jan. 1, 2018, there is no need to rush it like Representative Lagman wishes for,” he said.
“Unlike bills approved by Congress, a joint resolution does not have to be transmitted to the President for his approval. The Speaker and I have already signed the joint resolution and will be transmitted to our Senate counterparts for their signatures,” he said.
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