President Rodrigo Duterte said he would bide by any decision that the Supreme Court would issue on his declaration of martial law, in a posture that starkly differed from that of defiant House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
“Of course. We are bound by rules. That’s the Supreme Court already,” said Duterte in a report in Rappler. Duterte, in Sultan Kudarat on Friday, June 9, to visit troopers of the 6th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, was asked if he would follow whatever the Supreme Court’s decision on petitions that questioned Proclamation 216 declaring martial law in Mindanao and asking the Court to issue an order for Congress to convene in joint session to tackle the President’s justification for the declaration.
Earlier, Alvarez said he would defy the Supreme Court if it orders that the House and Senate convene in a joint session.
“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 petitioners claim that the President has no factual basis to declare martial law in Mindanao. The Supreme will hear oral arguments on the petitions on June 13, 14 and 15.