CALLING ON CONGRESS TO CONVENE THE JOINT SESSION TO DELIBERATE ON MINDANAO MARTIAL LAW DECLARATION

With all due respect to our esteemed colleagues, Congress must hold a joint session on the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus — in a public and transparent manner and in an official proceeding.

(The writ of habeas corpus basically requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge. This is used for people who believe they are unlawfully detained, and are thus questioning their arrest or detainment.)

If very sensitive matters may compromise the ongoing operations and safety of our men in uniform, then we can go into executive session.

Granted, Article VII Section 18 of the constitution does not mandate Congress to approve these two extraordinary executive powers that affect the rights of millions of people.

Yet, public accountability, transparency, and the right of our people to be informed of matters of public interest are all constitutional tenets, and thus form constitutional bases for the joint session.

It is legally untenable that revoking the declaration and thereby sparing our citizens from the infringement of their rights must be done in a joint public session, while allowing it to remain uncontested with the rights of millions curtailed or diminished need not be done in an official proceeding.

Our citizens are spared in the first instance, and punished in the second.

While a person need not know why he or she is spared from punishment, every person needs to know why he or she is being punished.

We urge Congress leaders to rethink their position and convene the joint session of Congress.

***

Mawalang-galang na sa mga kasama ko sa Senado, dapat magsagawa ng joint session ang Kongreso tungkol sa martial law at suspensyon ng pribilehiyo ng writ of habeas corpus.

(Inuutos ng writ of habeas corpus na iharap sa hukom ang isang taong naaresto. Ginagamit ito para sa mga naarestong tao na tingin nila ay iligal ang pagkaka-aresto, kaya kinu-kwestyon nila ang kanilang pagkaka-aresto o pagkakakulong.)

Kung may mga sensitibong usapin na maaaring ikompromiso ang patuloy na operasyon sa Marawi at ang kaligtasan ng ating mga sundalo roon, pwede namang mag-executive session.

Sabihin nang hindi inuutos ng Article VII Section 18 ng konstitusyon na aprubahan ng Kongreso ang dalawang matitinding kapangyarihang ito ng executive na nakaka-apekto sa karapatan ng milyong-milyong tao.

Inuutos naman ng konstitusyon sa lingkod-bayan na managot, maging bukas, at ipatupad ang karapatan ng mamamayan sa mga usapin ng pampublikong interes. Ito rin ang mga batayan para sa joint session.

Hindi katanggap-tanggap na ang pag-revoke ng martial law na siyang nagbabalik sa ating mamamayan ng kanilang karapatan ay nangangailangan ng joint session, habang hinahayaang walang opisyal na debate sa pagkitil ng kanilang karapatan.

Sa una, nagpaparaya sa mamamayan; sa ikalawa, pinaparusahan.

Pwedeng hindi alam ng tao kung bakit siya pagbibigyan, pero dapat alam naman niya kung bakit siya parurusahan.

Hinihimok natin ang mga lider ng Kongreso na muling pag-isipan ang posisyong ito at magtipon para sa isang joint session.