Akbayan Party List is preparing to file next week a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court assailing the legality and factual basis of President Duterte’s martial law declaration over Mindanao.

In a phone patch interview with congressional reporters, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said they are preparing to file it on the grounds that Congress did not fulfill its constitutional mandate to review the declaration which he also claimed had no factual basis.

Villarin points out that the separate briefings of the House and the Senate with executive branch officials do not satisfy the requirement for a joint session.

“because congress is now in receess sine die adjournment yung isang phase ng hurdle tot he filing of an SC case. we think its already a justiciable issue the Sc can take cognizance po of a petition for certiorari main basis namin is that separate sessions of the senate congress, the house doesnt conform to the constitutional mandate of a joint session secondly the SC will review it to the basis the factual basis of the martial law declaration base don the 7 page report of the rpesident to congress wala naman pong factual basis were confident that the SC will take cognizance of such petition”

For Villarin, declaring martial law is a shared power of the executive and legislative branches of goverment. “well basically the revocation of the declaration then unang una on a technicality yung requirements because ang martial law declaration is a joint power shared jointly by the president and congress sa congress di nila sinunod yung joitn session mandate so in a way incomplete ang declaration. “

Villarin also said that the supreme court has the power of judicial review of the factual basis. “substantive basis factual basis thats for the Sc to look into we would also point out in our petition na walang factual basis ang declaration.”

Villarin said their group will include petitioners from Mindanao. “there are other petitioners people from mindanao affected residents from mindanao some from marawi there will also be lawyers groups that will also join the petition”

Villarin also hopes his colleagues in the Opposition bloc in Congress will join as petitioners.

Administration ally, PBA Party List Rep. Jericho Nograles recognized Villarin’s right to file a case before the Supreme Court. “our constitution provides that any taxpayer can go befroe the SC to question the imposition of martial law so kung gusto po ng mga taxpayer they can go to the supreme court and the supreme court can settle it”

Nograles however explained that Congress has not yet fulfilled its constitutional mandate to review the declaration with finality.”ang senate has  passed a resolution of support the house has passed a resolution of support hindi po ibig sabihin niyan yung house at senate ay nagbitaw na ng kanilang constitutional duty to assemble in joint session to suspend or revoke the martial law proclamation at any time po during martial law na pwede mag joint session ang house at senate anytime po yan  i want to emphasize lang and assure our public kamis a kongresow e remain ever vigilant para s amga reports sa ml. at kung kumbinsido tayo na kailangan na ilift i believe congress will come together and even the executive might lift it ahead of its 60 day imposition”

Nograles dispelled allegations  and fears of abuse of the martial law declaration.”the first time nagmartial law tayo under this presnet constitution was 2009 when then PGMA impsoed martial law in midnanao hingi niya 60 days but in one weeks time she lifted it wag po natin sabihin mabilis na ihtaol na itong martial law totoong aabot ng 60 days this is a day to day  operation. paano naman maulit yung 1970s martial law eh iba naman konstitusyon noon.?”

ACTS OFW Party List John Bertiz for his part divulged that his colleagues asre asking for a hotline they can call to report abuses. “mayroong  recommendation kasi ang aming mga kasama na magkaroon ng  hotline sa mindanao region na wpede matawagan if there are any abuses on the ground na nangyayari. ang abuses di langs agubyerno kasama na rebelde mga taong sumususporta sa maute at terorista that forms all forms of abuses”

On wednesday, The House  has adopted a resolution the Committee of the Whole’s Report which recommended that the House support the declaration and stress that there is no reason to revoke the matter at this time.

The Committee discussed in executive session with executive branch officials the factual basis of the declaration triggered by the seige of Marawi City by the Maute group.

House Resolution 1050 said that during the meeting of the committee, “the Members of the House of representatives determined the factual sufficiency of the factual basis for the issuance of Proclamation 216.

The resolution reads, ” Resolved by the House of represnetatives to express its full support to President Rodrigo Duterte s it finds no reason to revoke Proclamation 216  entitled Declaring a State of Martial Law and Suspending the Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Whole of Mindanao.”

ACT Teachers Party List rep. Antonio Tinio objected to the resolution. “Mr. Speaker, ang requirement po ng Constitution para mag-deklara ang Presidente ng martial law at magsuspende ng pribilehiyo ng writ of habeas corpus ay dalawa po.  Una ay kinakailangan na may nagaganap na rebelyon at pangalawa ay may banta sa public safety.  Sa palagay po ng Kinatawang ito ay hindi po napatunayan ng President sa kanyang Proklamasyon at maging sa kanyang ulat o report sa Kongreso na may sapat na kondisyon para magdeklara ng martial law sa buong Mindanao.

Tinio added, “Mr. Speaker, ang hinihingi po ng Konstitusyon ay may aktwal na rebelyon.  Madali pong magplano, madali pong magkaroon ng mga hangarin ang kung sinu-sinong grupo pero ang hinihingi po ay may aktwal na rebelyon na naglalayon na ihiwalay ang buong teritoryo ng Mindanao mula sa Republika ng Pilipinas.  Hindi po ito napatunayan sa ulat, sa Proklamasyon at maging sa executive session kanina, Mr. Speaker. “

The adoption of the resolution came after the Senate adopted a similar resolution.

also on wednesday, some critical lawmakers  slaimed President Duterte could be setting the stage to expand the coverage of Martial Law in Mindanao.

That was their key take away of after a 5 hour closed door executive session of the House of Representatives Committee of the Whole.

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano stressed he heard nothing new from the executive session and insisted that martial law be limited to lanao del sur.” but im not convicned na dapat magkaroonng martial law  inorder to address the problem in marawi at most pwede sa lanao del sur i doubt martial law satisfies the requirement of rebellion or invetsment.”

But Alejano is worried by a statement that martial law wont just be used to quell terrorism. “walang malaking pagbabago details na operational. isang well naging statement ng leadership na di lamang ang terrorism ang addressin ng prublema. “

Alejano recalled that some of the reasons  for martial law cited  in the session cant be addressed within the 60 day limit of the constitution. “kungdi asg biff historical sociocultural kung ganun ang basehan ng ml ibig sabihin you cannot resolve within 60 days and thoughout the term of the president you wont be able to address the problems considering the fact those basis are existing in other  parts of the country.kung ganun ang dahilan ibig sabihin magdedeclare ka ng martial law all over the country at hanggang andiyan ka sa pwesto”

Alejano added, “ang pagka basehan ay issue ng matagal nang pinaglalaban ng rebelde social injsutice historical injustcie di matatapos ng 60 days  kahit sa term niya di matatapos yan…the point is you wont be able to solve that within a short period of time that means youre going to extend that not only in mindanao but the entire country…pati nga drugs doon nakasama” 

Alejano points out that Duterte appeared to be itching to declare martial law for a long time now.”i believe so. noon pa man ay direksyon ng pangulo magdedeclare ng pangulo naghahanap lang siya ng kadahalinan.”

 Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate  is wary of how this may affect the peace talks with rebel groups. “mas nakakabahala yung paliwang halimbawa ito naman public record yung general order 31 in relation to martial law mas malinaw doon na ang sasakpin ay lahat na ng rebel groups in mIndanao di na lang maute group o asg doon sa siansabi nila na target lang ang maute sasaklawin nito ay lahat na ang pinangambahan natin this will put into jeopardy ang ongoing peace negotiations”

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said, “Many of those divulged were already of public knowledge and in no way secret or confidential. Some questions made were vaguely answered or not clear as to allay fears on martial law. The executive seems to have no coherence as to a holistic assessment of what necessitated the declaration of ML. Nor was there a clear plan of how the situation in Mindanao will be resolved. Everything seems to be at the sole discretion of the President. Even if the House approves a resolution affirming PP 216, the fact that it was not done in joint session renders it an unconstitutional act. Congress failed to exercise its shared powers with the President in any ML declaration with such move. The order of the day seems to be #martiallaweverywhere”

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said, “ito mga programa natin sa mindanao kailangan matuloy natin ang peace process, with CPP NPA NDF MILF MNLF paano natin matutuloy ang peace rocess kung magulo ng ISIS wilayat marami na prublema sa mindanao wag na natin hayaang madagdagan pa…ngayon meron tayong presidente kilang kila ang prublema pagbigyan natin siya”