Opposition Lawmakers claim President Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao unilaterally, without any recommendations from the AFP and the Cabinet.

Magdalo rep. Gary Alejano said this in a press conference, “unang una nirecommend ba ng security officials ang martial law? or si presidente ba mismo nagsabing magdeclare ako even without the recommendation of the security officials? yun ang information natin. even in the interviews of concerned people.”

Pressed if he knew for a fact  that in recent days there was no recommendation from anyone in AFP or the  cabinet for the president to declare martial law, Alejano responded, “that is what i have gathered. yes i believe ano yung sitwasyon doon sa ground that merits declaration of martial law?”

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman pointed out that this is important because it goes into  the factual basis of the declaration. Lagman points out, no such recommendation was cited in the declaration. “could you just read again that declaration and find out whetehr there is a categorical assertion that the military and the intelligence community recommended the imposition of martial law in the entire area. tama siansabi ni gary there was no one who recommended. that goes into the factual basis of the declaration di naman motu propio the president can declare martial law he must have a basis the basis is a categorical recommendation of the military establishment. he’s operating outside the law.”

Alejano pointed out that in the early days of the Marawi City conflict, the maute group was not directly linked to ISIS, at least not till the President linked them “nung nagsimula ang gyera sa marawi di pa tinatawag ng military na isis ang maute. pero kasi nagagalit yung pangulo pag di aligned ang pronouncement. eto napupiwesra lahat to conform with the statements of the president in reality even if the armed forces was saying  everything under control bakit magdedeclare ng ML ang  maute maliit lang ito.”

Alejano stressed that as a former soldier, he thinks martial law was unnecessary and adds nothing to the existing capabilities of the military to do their job/ “we according to my experience we can conduct searches and arrest even without martial law in conflict areas  di mo na kailangan magdeclare ng martial law dahil in prusit of the combat operation you can search any house . wala talagang maidagdag ang martial law  doon sa military operations. medyo overreaction yan disproportionate reaction from the president and the problem is instead of downplaying the issue in public and making our best in private ang nangyari  blinoat ng presidente ang issue in the process promoting the maute as ISIS backed. the maute have achieved their objective of being recognized.”

Akbayan Rep, Tom Villarin says they may  now have basis to seek the revocation of the declaratoon, “ang possibility diyan if we can see theres no factual basis sa presentation ng executive bukas the possibility is we will move for the revocation immediate revocation of martial law.”

Lagman says despite their objections, they intend to participate in the committee of the whole meeting on wednesday at the Lower Hosue so they can establish the factual basis of the declaration.”yes we dont want to forfeit our opprtunity to ask relevant questions but of course  we objected to the holding of a committee of the whole because that is not what the constitution wants

we would like to find out the relevant factual basis for the declaration of ML and also the question of  “invasion” and whether or not these are  only acts of terorism not involving rebellion or insurrection and also to find out whether it is justified that the entire islands of mindanao should be under mL or only the city of marawi or province of lanao which is a  very small part of the totality of the mindanao islands”

Lagman However explains they are not giving up on their call for a joint session of congress to doa  congressional review of the declaration. so far the senate has only condcuted its own executive briefing with executive branch officials. a committee of the whole will be conveneed by the house on wednesday for a similar purpose. The Lagman opposition  are already working with other groups to elevating tot he Supreme Court  the twin matters of convening a joint session and the factual basis of the declaration of martial law. “there are kindred groups meeting starting June 1 actually it started yesterday to plan out a definitive course of action in the face of the refusal of the leadership of the House and the Senate to comply with the constitutional mandate to convene in  a jt session and vote jointly… yesterday we had a meeting with dating commissionner and chairman  ng comelec si chris monsod also the former solgen florin hilbay was present he was the one who called for 300 lawyers to sign a petition and former senator and rep. bobby tanada was also there. that was the call of former solgen florin hilbay. alex padilla.””

Lagman adds filing a case at the SC is an option. “that is a very clear possibility not only with respect to the refusal of the leadership to convene in joint session but also the factual basis of martial law which  according to the constitution the SC has jurisidtcion. if ever there is a petition to be filed it will be at the SC.”

Lagman believes the Court cannot dismiss this as a political question. “i think political question cannot be raised  because there is a grave constitutional violation on the part of the leadership of the house and of the senate there is a constitutional issues. i think we believe its more than political question, its a constitutional violation which the SC  has the power to review and adjudicate.”

However Lagman added now is not the time yet to assail the matter before the Supreme court.  “actually if we file the petition sooner than later the SC will say its premature let the congress decide whether or not they are going to call a joint session but from the developments yesterday its a foregone conclusion that the leadership  of the senate and the house will not call for a joint session or joint voting”

Lagman explained why they have not filed a motion or resolution for a joint session. “we shouldnt do that because the cosntitution itself calls for  the conveneing of the congress. we demurred for that kind of strategy because if you file a resolution eitehr simple or concurrent the  supremajority will most likely kill it like the way they killed the impeachment complaint.we shouldnt be derpived the opprotunity to ask the question.”

Villarin stresses the right to know and the right to examine the basis of the declaration. “ang kawawa dito ay yung taongbayan dahil executive session even us legislators are not allowed to divulge what happened doon sa executive session its a gag order for legsilators and even a gag order for media to air what really transpired in executive session kaya yun po pinapangambahan natin. an executive session will just legtimize this creeping authoritarianism. 

this is not about popularity  this is is alla bout the right of every citizen to know why martial law was declared and whats the factual basis.”