FORMER senator Wigberto "Bobby" Tañada and a group of church leaders on Wednesday filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) asking Congress to convene in a joint session and review the martial law declaration and suspension of writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
This was the third petition filed challenging President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation 216 issued on May 23.
Aside from Tañada, the petitioners include Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iniguez, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Bishop Antonio Tobias, Mother Adelaida Ygrubay, Shamah Bulangis and Cassandra Deluria.
Petitioners said there was grave abuse of discretion on the part of Congress when it decided not to discuss the martial law in Mindanao.
Both the Senate and the House of Representatives in separate resolutions stated that they will not convene since the Constitution only requires both chambers to discuss the issue if it will decide to revoke or extend the 60-day martial law.
Petitioners said that the 1987 Constitution states that the Congress' assembly to review declaration of martial law is "mandatory".
They said the Congress' failure to convene in a joint session "deprives lawmakers of a deliberate and interrogatory process to review martial law and deprives the public of transparent proceedings within which to be informed of the factual bases of the declaration and the intended parameters of its implementation."
"It is most respectfully prayed that this Honorable Supreme Court; declare the refusal of the Congress to convene in a joint session for the purpose of considering Proclamation No. 216, to be in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction," the petitioners' prayer read.
Named respondents in the case are Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
The SC has set the oral arguments for the first petition filed by members of the House minority bloc for June 13, 14, and 15 at 10 a.m. (SunStar Philippines)