Thursday, July 6, 2017

VP Leni read the Constitution wrong and Duterte has sole power to declare Martial Law

As the Vice President and a lawyer, it is expected that Vice President Leni Robredo fully understand the Constitution and all its provisions, but Atty. Trixie Cruz-Angeles had to school her on a very basic about the Constitution and its provision on Martial Law.

Robredo said on July 4, 2017 (Tuesday) that the Congress is expected to fulfill its “Constitutional duty” to review the declaration of Martial Law as though it is required by the Constitution that Congress reviews the President’s declaration.

Cruz-Angeles was quick to point out that Art. 7 Sec. 18 of the 1987 Constitution explicitly says that 

"The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it."

The fact that it says that Congress “may” revoke Martial Law means that it is not a “Constitutional duty” of the lawmakers to review and revoke Duterte’s proclamation.

It also follows that since it is not mandatory for Congress to go over Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law, the Supreme Court is also not mandated to review it, contrary to what Robredo insists.

Additionally, Cruz-Angeles said that the mere fact that Congress refused to convene on the proclamation means that they have no intention to revoke it.

In her full post on Facebook, Cruz-Angeles said,

"The Vice President has once again revealed that she has not carefully read the constitutional provisions on martial law. In a statement yesterday 04 July 2017 she said that Congress MUST review Proclamation 216 on behalf of the people, insinuating that despite the Supreme Court's ruling on the factual bases of the declaration of martial law, Congress still has the obligation to make a review. 

Incorrect. It is not mandatory on the part of Congress to review the declaration. In fact it is not even mandatory on the part of the Supreme Court. The sole power to declare martial law lies with the president. 

And while the power of review for purposes of revoking it, is indeed on Congress, it is not duty bound to do so.

Besides, they already did. An act presumed when they refused to convene to discuss the declaration."

Source: Luminous by Trixie Cruz-Angeles

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