House Expected To Support Martial Law Declaration

Posted Dec 6, 2009 by Antonio Figueroa
MANILA – Two days before Congress will hold a joint session to determine whether to cut short or extend the implementation of martial law in Maguindanao, Speaker Prospero Nograles has expressed optimism the congressmen will back the military takeover.
In an e-mailed statement, Nograles said the declaration of military rule in Maguindanao, which was the site of the political massacre that led to the killing of 57 persons, including 30 journalists, is “beyond politics” and was made “to protect national interest.”
“We strongly support the President’s move,” he said, because “she did the right thing.”
The Speaker was optimistic in saying he would lead the House collective leadership in presenting and passing a resolution that would support the presidential proclamation placing the entire province of Maguindanao under a state of martial, suspending the writ of habeas corpus, and preventing the spread of violence and vendetta to nearby areas.
“Many of my colleagues,” he stressed, “believe the declaration should have been made earlier,” adding the President “made the right decision (as) demanded by national good and by justice.”
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declared martial law lat Friday night after consulting with the Cabinet and assessing the reports given to her by law enforcement agencies, in particular the Armed Forces of the Philippines where she is the commander-in-chief, and the Philippine National Police.
Under the Constitution, the President must report within 48 hours the basis for declaring military rule, and the chambers of Congress, jointly holding a session, have to vote either to junk or extend the proclamation based on the information the Executive will submit.
Also, the declaration of martial law, if supported by Congress, can be extended up to a maximum of 60 days.
In a related development, Nograles impliedly hit Sen. Benigno Aquino III, a presidential aspirant under the Liberal Party, for censuring the House of Representatives as devoid of independence.
“(The declaration of martial law) is a matter of extreme national concern which we must take up with urgency,” he said, lamenting the statements of former congressmen for branding the House of Representatives as a “rubber stamp” of the President.
The Speaker also underscore that the senator should have avoided such “ungentlemanly tirades” because was once “a former member of this chamber.”