MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo again called on the Senate and the House of Representatives to perform their function to review the martial law declaration in Mindanao as the Supreme Court (SC) decided to favor it on Tuesday, July 4.
"The Supreme Court decision on Proclamation No. 216 is an affirmation of the democratic process set in our Constitution. This is an important component of the mandated checks and balances to martial law," Robredo said in a statement.
"We expect that Congress will likewise fulfill its constitutional duty to review, on behalf of the people, the declaration of martial law in Mindanao," she stressed.
The Vice President had earlier expressed support for Duterte's decision and the government troops' effort to neutralize the terrorists in conflict-torn Marawi City. Along with her support was a call to Congress to review the events and facts that led to the martial law proclamation.
Duterte imposed martial law in the whole of Mindanao in the wake of the Maute Group's attempted takeover of the Islamic city. It's been nearly 6 weeks since the fighting ensued on May 23. (IN PHOTOS: Death and destruction in Banggolo, heart of Marawi)
Under the 1987 Constitution, the President has to report to Congress "in person or in writing" within 48 hours after making the declaration. The period of martial law must also not exceed 60 days, and any extension must be approved by Congress. (READ: Martial Law 101: Things you should know)
The House and the Senate did not convene but just received a written report from Malacañang on May 25. Both chambers conducted separate closed-door briefings on it with members of the Cabinet.
With the SC ruling, martial law remains in effect for a maximum of 60 days. It will be lifted by July 22, two days ahead of Duterte's second State of the Nation Address.
Duterte may seek an extension with Congress' approval. Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has said that he and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Eduardo Año are poised to recommend an extension, so far. (READ: Gov't retakes Maute stronghold, Dansalan College, in Marawi)
Robredo, meanwhile, asked the public to "remain vigilant in safeguarding our rights and constitutional processes" while helping out those in need in Marawi City. – Rappler.com