MANILA—The office of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has officially received from Malacañang a copy of Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216, declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao.
The House of Representatives received the copy of the martial law proclamation at around 10:26 p.m. Wednesday night.
In a radio interview on Thursday, Alvarez said there is no need for Congress to immediately convene to discuss the President’s declaration of martial law, noting that the Constitution does not require immediate congressional review upon submission of the report.
“Ngayon, kung ito ay i-report niya personally, we have to convene Congress para tanggapin at pakinggan yung kanyang report. Pero kung ito ay gagawin niya in writing, hindi na kailangan na mag-convene kami agad-agad, unless mayroong desisyon yung mga miyembro na kailangang mag-convene kami at pag-usapan yung kanyang report,” Alvarez said.
According to the 1987 Constitution, the President is mandated to submit a report, whether in person or in writing, to Congress within 48 hours from the proclamation of martial law.
Alvarez said the proclamation of martial law would be in effect for 60 days unless Congress decides to either shorten or extend the period.
“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,” the Constitution read.
“Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it,” it added.
The lower chamber would likely review the martial law proclamation in its session next week, the Speaker noted.
“May session naman ang Kongreso hanggang next week at puwede po natin mailahad para talakayin iyan,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez also allayed concerns over possible abuses that may arise from the declaration of martial law, as the Constitution remains in effect and the courts and civilian authorities continue to function.
President Duterte placed the entire Mindanao island under martial law following clashes between government troops and members of the Maute group in Marawi City.
The development also prompted Duterte to cut short his official visit to Moscow and fly back home the soonest.
The violence started Tuesday afternoon after the military conducted operations to flush out Isnilon Hapilon, a top terrorist suspect, from his hideout in Marawi City.