House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez will “tear apart” any directive issued by the Supreme Court ordering Congress to convene in a joint session to discuss President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao.
Alvarez also hit at those behind petitions asking the Supreme Court to order Congress to hold the joint session.
‘”“ They should go back to their law books, “ said .Alvarez in response to a question from journalists about the petitions asking the High Court to compel the House and Senate to convene in a joint session to tackle President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration.
Alvarez says the Supreme Court has no power to compel the House and Senate to a joint session.
But the Speaker did not stop there.
“How can the Supreme Court dictate Congress on what to do? We’re co-equal bodies. I’ll tear apart any directive issued by Supreme Court telling Congress, dictating Congress to convene in a joint session,” warned Alvarez.
President Duterte, who declared Martial Law in Mindanao on May 23 following the attack on Marawi City by the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups, is mandated by the Constitution to submit a report to Congress justifying his declaration of Martial Law. The House and Senate did not convene in joint session to discuss the President’s report prompting the filing of the petitions before the Supreme Court to compel the two legislative bodies, as required by the Constitution, to hold the joint session.
The Supreme Court said that it will consolidate two mandamus petitions filed before the body asking the high court to order the Senate and the House of Representatives to convene in joint session and vote jointly on President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 216 declaring martial law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
The Court was to start hearing the petitions next week.
As the matter stands, the Supreme Court has not yet issued a decision or order on whether or not to compel Congress to hold a joint session.
But Alvarez could not contain his mouth. He does not want the Court to decide on the petitions.
The Speaker’s insulting comment that he would “tear apart” any directive by the Supreme Court compelling Congress to hold the joint session is a warning to the High Court: keep your hands off the issue.
Petitions have been filed before the Supreme Court, which has a mandate to tackle legal issues raised before it.
The Speaker wants the Court to abandon this mandate.
Alvarez said that the High Court cannot impose its decision on the legislature and has no power to compel the House and Senate to hold a joint session to discuss President Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law.
Alvarez’s logic is off tangent. The joint session is mandated by the Constitution.
President Duterte has assured that Proclamation 216 declaring Martial Law in Mindanao would address violence imposed by terrorists, particularly on Marawi City, assuring the public that the limited martial rule would not be like the Marcos martial law.
This explanation from the President apparently did not sink on the Speaker’s gray matter.
He thinks Proclamation 216 is not limited to Mindanao, gave dictatorial powers to the House and its Speaker to question the power and authority of other branches of government like the Supreme Court.
The Speaker said the Court would be “dictating” on Congress if it agrees to the petitions to compel Congress into holding a joint session to tackle Proclamation 216.
But who is acting like a dictator?
“How can the Supreme Court dictate Congress on what to do? We’re co-equal bodies. I’ll tear apart any directive issued by Supreme Court telling Congress, dictating Congress to convene in a joint session,” the Speaker said.
Alvarez also warned that the petitions could precipitate a constitutional crisis if a clash over the issue of compelling Congress to convene a joint session would ensue between Congress and the Supreme Court.
What is wrong with Congress holding a joint session on President Duterte’s Martial Law.
After all, the Speaker has been saying that majority of Senators and Congressmen support the President’s declaration.
The scenario of the declaration being revoked by Congress or its extension if President Duterte ask for it is denied, is farfetched.
So what crisis is Alvarez talking about?
There is going to be a crisis if the Speaker of the House of Representatives insults and defies the Supreme Court. Alvarez has already created one by challenging the authority and power of the Supreme Court. He insulted the highest court of the land by saying that he would tear apart any order by the Supreme Court compelling Congress to hold a joint session.
President Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao is working perfectly for the civilians and against the terrorists and other elements planning to sow violence in Mindanao.
No harassment. Except from Alvarez, a Mindanaoan, who is harassing the Supreme Court.
President Duterte said that if there is a need, coverage of Martial Law may be extended to th Visayas and Luzon.
We suggest that the coverage should include a prohibition on high government officials, like Speaker Alvarez, to insult and defy other branches of government and its officials.
Like the Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists who challenge President Duterte and his administration, government officials who challenge the authority and power of other branches of government create mayhem and are threats to peace and order. RIGOR ZABALA