Ex-senator, bishops file 3rd petition on martial law before SC

MANILA, Philippines – Former senator Wigberto "Bobby" Tañada and several Catholic bishops were among those who filed the latest petition before the Supreme Court seeking to compel Congress to convene in a joint session on martial law.

Manila Bishop Broderick Pabillo and Mother Adelaida Ygrubay, prioress of St Scholastica's Priory of the Missionary Benedictine Sisters based in Manila, filed the petition before the SC on Wednesday, June 7, accompanied by student leaders from different universities.

The other petitioners are Caloocan Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iñiguez, Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias, Shamah Bulangis of Silliman University, and Cassandra Deluria of the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

This is the second petition for mandamus to make Congress convene in a joint session, and the third petition overall filed before the High Court challenging martial law.

"A plain reading of the 1987 Constitution leads to the indubitable conclusion that a joint session of Congress to review a declaration of Martial law by the President is mandatory," the petition read.

Just like the lawyer-petitioners who also want Congress to convene, Tañada and the bishops stressed the importance of holding a public deliberation on martial law so Filipinos are "informed of the factual bases of the declaration."

The SC has already set 3 days for oral arguments on the petition filed by minority lawmakers who sought the nullification of martial law.

Citing conflicting claims of circumstances that led to the declaration of martial law, the new petitioners said not holding a joint session means there is "no way of scrutinizing the said inconsistencies and errors."

"They now cast a dark cloud of doubt over the legitimacy and proportionality of Martial Law as a response to the Marawi conflict," the petitioners said.

The petition adds: "Legislators who wish to revoke the Martial Law proclamation should have the right to put that vote on historical record in joint session – and, in like manner, the public should have the right to know the position of their legislators with respect to this matter of the highest national interest." – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.