Sen. Leila M. de Lima today expressed her disappointment over the Senate leadership’s refusal to convene Congress in a joint session to tackle President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216 putting Mindanao under the state of Martial Law.
De Lima, one of the signatories of Senate Resolution (SR) No. 390 calling for a joint session of Congress, said she believes that the Senate majority bloc’s decision not to convene both chambers of Congress is a failure of our democracy.
“Both Houses of Congress have to convene with the implementation of Martial Law. We have to remember that convening both Chambers does not automatically mean we are going to revoke it. The assembly is meant to review the merits of the executive action on the need to implement military rule,” she said.
“Our democracy is at stake here. Refusing to let Congress convene is failing the democracy that put us here in the first place. If we let the President do whatever he wants and declare Martial Law in Mindanao, I would not be surprised if one day we wake up with the entire country under military rule,” she added.
De Lima has earlier signed SR No. 390 seeking to convene Congress in joint session to deliberate on Proclamation No. 216 declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
However, SR No. 390 was rejected when the Senate adopted Senate Resolution No. 388 affirming Proclamation No. 216, convinced that there is “no compelling reason” to revoke it due to the existence of rebellion in the region.
With other minority bloc senators, De Lima said Congress has the “sacred duty and peremptory obligation” to seek information surrounding the proclamation, assess its factual basis, and if warranted, revoke it.
In a separate statement she issued while in detention in Camp Crame, De Lima also reiterated that Martial Law should not be the solution to the Marawi siege, as this will create more problems.
“History has made it clear: Martial Law is not the solution to subversion, rebellion or terrorism. This has resulted in the increase of rebels, abuse of power, and violence,” she said in the vernacular.
“It is disturbing for Martial Law to be used once again, especially under the leadership of a President who is ready to ignore Congress and Supreme Court to get his way, using force and violence for justice, killing 9,000 Filipinos,” she added.
For De Lima, the Senate must be reminded of its constitutional duty, and that refusing to follow the mandate is a violation of the Constitution, and ignoring such obligations is a disservice to the people who voted them as their representatives in the Upper Chamber.