The Makabayan Bloc has filed House Joint Resolution #13 seeking to convene a joint session of Congress to revoke President Duterte’s declaration of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
In its resolution, Makabayan claimed that based on the President’s report to Congress, there is no factual basis for the declaration. “However, subsequent developments reveal that many of the claims contained therein were inaccurate, grossly exaggerated, or outright false.”
Makabayan listed the following inaccuracies in the report of the President.
a. The attack by the Maute Group on the Amai Pakpak Hospital and hostage taking of its employees (page 3) – The hospital chief himself belied this allegation.
b. The ambush and burning of the Marawi Police Station (page 4) – The Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra belied this allegation.
c. The killing of five faculty members of Dansalan College Foundation (page 3) – Available news reports only indicate rescue of 42 teachers who were trapped during the attack, without mentioning any deaths resulting in this incident.
d. The attacks on various government facilities in the City of Marawi (page 4) – Mayor Gandamra clarified that there was no takeover or occupation of government facilities or offices.
In contrast, Makabayan cited that what were established by reports are the following: (1) the armed confrontation as a result of the execution of warrants of arrest against Hapilon, et al.; (2) raid in the Marawi City Jail; (3) burning of schools – Dansalan College Foundation, Senator Ninoy Aquino College Foundation, and the Marawi Central Elementary Pilot School; (4) burning of Cathedral of Maria Auxiliadora; (5) establishment of check points and road blockades at the Iligan City-Marawi City junction.
Makabayan argued that there is no proof or evidence is provided in the President’s report to support the claim that the terroristic acts of violence perpetrated by the armed groups in Marawi are acts of rebellion for the purpose of establishing “the groups’ seat of power in Marawi City for their planned establishment of a DAESH wilayat or province covering the entire Mindanao.”
Makabayan added that he terrorist actions in Marawi City do not warrant the imposition of martial law, nor the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Both the local government of Marawi City and all agencies of the national government remain fully functional. The authorities have repeatedly declared that the situation is “under full control.”
Makabayan also said that Proclamation No. 216 is also dangerously vague and overboard as it describes “other rebel groups” as the cause for the declaration of martial law even as the Proclamation failed to cite the name and activities being conducted by these amorphous “other rebel groups” that constitute rebellion. The inclusion of other rebel groups in Proclamation No. 216 may also jeopardize the ongoing peace process with armed revolutionary movements like the Communist’s New Peoples Army, Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front. These armed resistance movements are rooted on legitimate economic, social, political, and cultural causes;
Citing jurisprudence, Makabayan argued that the convening of both Houses of Congress in a joint session is mandated by the 1987 Constitution. The Supreme Court declared in the case of Colmenares v. Arroyo (G.R. No. 190301, March 20, 2012) that the duty to review is automatic and therefore not optional:
Makabayan added that the Supreme Court reiterated the duty to convene the joint session in order to revoke or affirm the proclamation made by the President. Thus in Chavez vs JBC (G.R. No. 202242, April 16, 2013) the Supreme Court stated that “ xxx under Section 18, the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus may be revoked or continued by the Congress x x x”
Makabayan cites that Both Houses of Congress convened in a joint session on December 9, 2009 to decide whether to support or revoke Pres. Gloria Arroyo’s imposition of martial law in Maguindanao. “The requirement that both Houses of Congress convene in a joint session, and not separately, is necessary in order for them to actually exercise their power to vote jointly on the proclamation and suspension made by the President.”
Makabayan also says that the reasons for the government’s failure to stop the atrocities of both groups are the operational incompetence of the AFP and the PNP, the faulty and dismal intelligence work and widespread corruption in the AFP and PNP. Added to these are the meddling and duplicity of the United States and the CIA, the force behind the creation of Abu Sayaff and now being exposed as supplying arms to ISIS for America’s military industrial complex and geopolitical interests.
(sots ACT TEACHERS PARTY LIST REP. ANTONIO TINIO, BAYAN MUNA REP. CARLOS ZARATE, GABRIELA PARTY LIST REP. EMMY DE JESUS)