Press Release
May 30, 2017


Senator Chiz Escudero today said there is no need for the Senate to pass a resolution affirming the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus (Proclamation No. 16) in Mindanao.

The Senate yesterday filed Senate Resolution No. 388 which expressed support for the proclamation. Fifteen senators from the majority bloc signed the resolution.

Escudero did not sign the resolution saying he didn't know about the resolution. "Nobody showed me a copy of the resolution."

The senator said even if it was given to him, he would most likely not have signed it. "Such a resolution is superfluous because the Constitution does not require it. The issue is not whether or not Congress will confirm martial law but whether or not Congress will revoke it. I would have voted against revocation at this time in a joint session once a member of Congress files a motion to so revoke."

Escudero maintains that Congress need not convene to confirm martial law proclamation. He says that Congress, voting jointly, as provided under Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution, has two options: (a) to revoke such proclamation or suspension. When it is revoked, the President cannot set aside (or veto) the revocation as he normally would do in the case of the bills and (b) to extend it beyond the 60-day period of its validity.

He added that Congress can only so extend the proclamation or suspension upon the initiative of the President. The period need not be 60 days. It could be more he said, as Congress would determine, based on the persistence of the emergency.

Escudero allays fears of the repeat of abuses of the martial rule under the Marcos regime saying the 1987 Constitution provides for safeguards against such.

"Sa bahagi ng briefing kahapon, akala nila may dagdag silang kapangyarihan pero sa totoo lang wala. Ang pagkakaiba lamang ng martial law sa ordinaryong pamumuhay natin, pwedeng gamitin ng pangulo ang military para gampanan ang tungkulin ng tradisyunal na ginagampanan ng pulis, which is law enforcement. Maliban dun, mag-aapply pa rin yung lahat ng rules of law."

He clarified that no warrantless arrest may be enforced unless a person is caught in flagrante delicto or in the act of committing a crime, like rebellion or in hot pursuit.

"Hindi pwede ang warrantless arrests dahil civilian courts continue to function under the Constitution. Ang tanging pwede mag-issue ng warrant ay korte pa rin."

He says this is also true with the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus as the rule remains the same. "Sa totoo lang, may martial law man o wala, suspendido man o hindi, the law still applies sa sinuman ang maaresto kailangan siyang makasuhan sa loob ng tatlong araw."

"The spirit behind the martial law provisions in the Constitution, given our experience under Marcos, is to make it easier to revoke it and not the opposite."

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