15 senators say Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao ‘satisfactory’

rodrigo duterte
SUPPORT. Fifteen senators back President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao. File photo by Malacañang

The Senate finds it to be ‘satisfactory, constitutional, and in accordance with the law…and finds no compelling reason to revoke the same,’ says Senate Resolution 388

MANILA, Philippines (May 30, 2017) — Fifteen of the 23 senators signed a Senate resolution formally expressing support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Senate Resolution 388, filed on Monday, May 29, was introduced by the following senators:

  1. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III
  2. Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto
  3. Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III
  4. Juan Edgardo Angara
  5. Nancy Binay
  6. Joseph Victor Ejercito
  7. Sherwin Gatchalian
  8. Richard Gordon
  9. Gregorio Honasan
  10. Panfilo Lacson
  11. Loren Legarda
  12. Manny Pacquiao
  13. Joel Villanueva
  14. Cynthia Villar
  15. Juan Miguel Zubiri

“The Senate finds the issuance of Proclamation No. 216 to be satisfactory, constitutional, and in accordance with the law. The Senate hereby supports fully Proclamation No. 216 and finds no compelling reason to revoke the same,” the senators said.

Of the 17 members of the majority bloc, only Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero did not sign the measure. But both said they will not oppose the President’s declaration.

“Didn’t know there was such a resolution. Nobody showed me a copy of the resolution. I would have voted against revocation at this time in a joint session once a member of Congress files a motion to so revoke,” Escudero said in a message.

“I will not object to martial law if it is the pathway to ensuring the safety of our countrymen in Marawi,” Poe said.

Citing the 1987 Constitution and Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code, the senators said it was just right for Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao, as the attacks of the Maute group in Marawi City constitute the crime of “rebellion.”

“The acts committed by the Maute group are an open attempt to remove from the allegiance to the Philippine Government the part of Mindanao and deprive the Chief Executive of its powers and prerogatives to enforce laws of the land and to maintain public order and safety in Mindanao, hence constitutes the crime of rebellion,” the resolution read.

House and the Senate leaders earlier said Congress is “unlikely” to revoke Duterte’s declaration, saying there is also no need to convene both chambers to deliberate on the issue.

Article 7, Section 18 of the Constitution requires the President to submit a report within 48 hours of declaration to Congress, which has the power to revoke or extend it through joint voting.

The minority bloc also filed a resolution calling for a joint public session for the sake of “transparency and accountability.” At least 12 senators are so far in favor of calling for a joint session.

In December 2009, a joint public session was convened at least thrice after then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared martial law in Maguindanao following the Maguindanao massacre.

  by Camille Elemia | Rappler.com