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Recent FAQs about proclamation of Martial Law

NB: Here’s my take on the recent LEGAL issues re: Martial Law. Comment if you have something to refute against or concur with. Thanks!

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Source: Rappler

Q: Is the Congress required to convene after the proclamation of Martial Law?

A: Yes, it is. The case of Fortun/Colmenares v. Arroyo, G.R. No. 190293, March 20, 2012 is instructive. This case was pointed out by KABATAAN Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago in one of her Tweets, and reiterated by former Ateneo de Manila School of Law and Governance dean, Prof. Tony La Vina in his newspaper column, weeks ago.

First, the Court said that the Congress’ exercise of its review power vis-a-vis the President’s proclamation of Martial Law is “automatic rather than initiated“. Then it went saying, “[T]he Congress is required to convene without need of a call within 24 hours following the Presidents proclamation or suspension. Clearly, the Constitution calls for quick action on the part of the Congress.” In that case, the Court reiterated the procedure under the Constitution, to wit:

“Xxx xxx xxx

  1. The Presidents proclamation or suspension is temporary, good for only 60 days;
  2. He must, within 48 hours of the proclamation or suspension, report his action in person or in writing to Congress;
  3. Both houses of Congress, if not in session must jointly convene within 24 hours of the proclamation or suspension for the purpose of reviewing its validity; and
  4. The Congress, voting jointly, may revoke or affirm the Presidents proclamation or suspension, allow their limited effectivity to lapse, or extend the same if Congress deems warranted.”

That the Congress is required to convene is just logical. It is only when the Congress has convened in joint session, and after their own review, would the citizens know that at least a majority of all its Members would want to uphold or revoke, officially, the proclamation. But, until then, any statement to the effect that the members of the Congress would want to uphold the proclamation would only remain as rumor, speculation or conjecture at its best.

 

Q: What if the Congress refuses or fails to convene within 24 hours? May the Supreme Court compel the Congress to convene?

A: Yes, I believe so, since it is “required” of the Congress to convene, as enunciated by the Court in Fortun/Colmenares v. Arroyo. However, it is almost impossible since the Congress only has 24 hours within which to convene and review the proclamation. That means that if a Mandamus petition will be filed before the Supreme Court to compel the Congress to convene, the Court would have to decide as well within 24 hours on whether or not to grant the Mandamus petition. I think, that is almost impossible to achieve.

 

Q: Can a concerned citizen file a petition directly with the Supreme Court to review the proclamation instead of waiting for the Congress to convene within 24 hours?

It depends. If the 24-hour period has not yet lapsed, the Supreme Court cannot entertain the petition for it would then be premature and would be violative of the Principle of Separation of Powers should the Supreme Court decide on the petition.

Fortun/Colmenares v. Arroyo is again instructive on this matter. The Court explained,

“Consequently, although the Constitution reserves to the Supreme Court the power to review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation or suspension in a proper suit, it is implicit that the Court must allow Congress to exercise its own review powers, which is automatic rather than initiated…. The constitutional validity of the Presidents proclamation of martial law or suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is first a political question in the hands of Congress before it becomes a justiciable one in the hands of the Court.”

In other words, it is only when the Congress failed to Convene within 24 hours may the Supreme Court step into the picture.

“Only when Congress defaults in its express duty to defend the Constitution through such review should the Supreme Court step in as its final rampart.

Xxx xxx xxx

If the Congress procrastinates or altogether fails to fulfill its duty respecting the proclamation or suspension within the short time expected of it, then the Court can step in, hear the petitions challenging the Presidents action, and ascertain if it has a factual basis.”

 

Q: Recently, a petition has been filed with the Supreme Court assailing President Duterte’s proclamation of Martial Law. In an interview with Inquirer,* Sen. Tito Sotto warned that there might arise a Constitutional crisis if the Supreme Court should order the Congress to convene and review the proclamation and the Congress would defy such order, noting that, for example, the Senate had recently junked the Senate Minority’s resolution calling for a joint session. Would that really happen?

A: I am not sure if there are several petitions filed. In one Inquirer report, a petition was filed assailing the factual basis of Duterte’s proclamation of Martial Law in Mindanao. In another Inquirer report as cited above, it says that Rep. Lagman et al. is asking the Court to compel Congress to convene in joint session. So, maybe there are several petitions filed.

But I think the latter petition will be declared moot since the 24-hour period given by the Constitution to Congress to jointly convene has already lapsed. But, if the said petition also assails the factual basis of the proclamation, I think it will not be dismissed on mere technicality but, on account of transcendental importance, will be consolidated with the other petition(s).

So, in other words, there will be no Constitutional crisis that would arise since, most likely, the Court will not order the Congress to convene, it being already moot. What the Court will do is to exercise its Constitutionally-granted power to review the President’s proclamation of Martial Law. The Constitution provides that the Court has 30 days from the filing of the petition to review whether or not there is sufficient factual basis for the proclamation. “If the Court finds none, then it can annul the proclamation or the suspension (Fortun/Colmenares v. Arroyo, 2012).” In other words, the Supreme Court is the last and ultimate Arbiter on this matter.

However, the Court must decide before the President would lift the proclamation; otherwise, the issue will become moot.

 

PS: It may be argued that the above-cited pronouncements of the Supreme Court may be considered as Obiter Dictum because they do not answer the issues raised in the Fortun/Comlenares’ petitions. Nonetheless, as I said, that the Congress should convene in joint session is just logical.

*http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/903114/sotto-warns-of-possible-constitutional-crisis-over-martial-law-debate?utm_term=Autofeed&utm_campaign=Echobox&utm_medium=Social&utm_source=Facebook#link_time=1496738342

 


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Thesis, chances, and Faith

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Sleepless nights with my siblings at my brother’s rented space. I never knew that my brother took this photo back then.

 

I have not written for so long on my WordPress blog due to my Law studies. What I have written today for my first blog post since my last is an #FBThrowback of what happened FOUR years ago.

April 2013. I was struggling with my Undergrad thesis then. It was just few days and sleepless nights before the Graduation Day. I was already prepared that I would “sablay” literally (instead of getting the UP “Sablay” – a symbolic sash worn during Commencement Exercises in the University of the Philippines), that is, not graduating with my batchmates that year. Notwithstanding, I still continued working on my thesis, sensing some hope that GOD gave me those times. Though I did not ask for help (because I grew up doing most of my works independently), still, my entire family came to the rescue. My brother offered his rented space where my sisters and I could work on my thesis. My mother filed a leave of absence from her work and came to Cebu to lend any assistance she could lend. But, since a Computer Science thesis/special problem/capstone is too technical for them, all they could do was to proofread my manuscript, help me pop the ideas out of the corners of my brain, print my manuscript, and have it bound while I continued refining the software that I developed for my thesis. My father also helped in editing my manuscript over e-mail. As I have highlighted in the Acknowledgment section of my thesis, it was all a collective effort. (Read Undergrad Thesis Acknowledgment here: https://www.facebook.com/100000053506248/posts/605367546141690/)

Fast forward: my adviser told me that the UP Cebu University Council, during their deliberation of official candidates for graduation that year, gave me one last chance to have my thesis finalized. I did. We did. Eventually, I graduated that year with my batchmates and officially conferred with a BS Computer Science degree with Latin honor.

Such was a learning experience for me, and the lessons I got from my mistakes back then — I applied them when I was doing my Juris Doctor thesis last year, i.e., four years thereafter. I made a Gannt chart — one thing I learned from my Undergrad days — and tried very much to stick to it. The constant monitoring of our Thesis Committee also helped a lot. Consequently, I finished my Juris Doctor thesis on time, without having to pass through the hell of cramming I once passed through four years ago. Then, my Juris Doctor thesis was awarded Best Thesis together with the thesis of my classmate. But then again, it was another product of a collective effort. (Read Juris Doctor (Law) Thesis Acknowledgment: https://www.facebook.com/100000053506248/posts/1493430364002066/)

Indeed, a photo like this one speaks a thousand words, a story even. Mine is a long story to tell but I had to cut it short here lest everyone be bored. But, I would really love to thank all the persons who gave me chances and trusted me that I would rise from my mistakes. Had my Undergrad adviser and the UP Cebu University Council been stricter and not allow me to graduate that year, I would have not come this far to where I am today. To date, I did not know how the deliberation during that memorable day went — Was the decision of giving me a chance unanimous? Or if it weren’t, who were the persons who vouched for me? — but to the teachers who supported me, I am forever grateful. And of course, to my family, I am more grateful.

And to all of those who are struggling right now, I am telling you to soldier on, to finish what you have started, and to keep the Faith no matter what lies ahead. That is better than quitting at once and do nothing at all. “But, there’s no more hope. Graduation is just few days away.” Well, four years ago, I held onto what GOD reminded me through the Scriptures, “[w]ith man this is impossible, but with GOD all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).”

 

PS: Currently, I am having my review for the Bar Examinations this November 2017. Since the Bar Examinations have not yet been regionalized, we, law students from provinces, will still have to spend around P100,000 to P200,000 for the duration of the review until the examination proper. In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity to knock on your kind hearts for some financial assistance. Any amount will do. I will really cherish your help.

 


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Opinion: Damayan ang Kadamay

“Will this be a precedent for future anarchic behavior? Perhaps. This is a possibility that we cannot ignore. However, this is a possibility which the government can mitigate, if not eliminate.

Kadamay’s frustration sets out from a denial and seeming lengthy inaction over their applications for housing. Have the government acted upon their applications urgently and have the government clearly explained the reasons for the denial of their applications, this could have been avoided.

Kadamay’s occupation also sets from the fact that the houses are vacant. Speedy disposition of housing grants may have avoided this.”

Your Lawyer Says

Settlers gather at the Atlantica housing project in Pandi town, Bulacan province, to get updates from their leaders on the status of their stay in the government-owned site.  —JOAN BONDOC

It is a crisis, and this is not an exaggeration. For the homeless, this is even a battle of life and death. Shelter, being one of the basic necessities of humans, is lacking for thousands of families. We are talking of 20,000 men, women, and children seeking for shelter, and the houses in Pandi, Bulacan, were vacant. There and then, they sought refuge in these unoccupied houses.

It is true. These houses are not Kadamay’s. It is likewise true that they have no right to occupy the houses. However, they should stay.

The right to an adequate shelter is a basic human right and is a government responsibility.

Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which the Philippine government is a long-time signatory, provides:

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food…

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Magra-rally pa ba kayo?

Renato Reyes, Jr.: “Samantala, may isang bagay din na dapat nating bantayan. Ito yung pang-iintriga at panghahati. May mga Dilawan na kontra kay Duterte na ang nais ay udyukan ang Kaliwa na mag-rally para sa kanila. Ngayon pa lang, gusto na nilang ipambala sa kanyon at isubo sa labanan ang Kaliwa habang sila ay manonood lang at nakaabang sa Twitter. Ayos din, ano?

Huwag tayong magpadala sa ganitong pang-uudyok na kunwari ay prinsipyado pero ang totoo’y nang-uupat lang. Buti sana kung nag-rally sila laban sa lahat ng kabalbalan ni Aquino, may ascendancy silang maningil. Eh sa anim na taon ni Noynoy, ni hindi ko sila nakitang mag-rally habang pinapatay ang mga Lumad at mga magsasaka sa Mindanao.

Anyways, so ganun na nga. Madami tayong gagawin. Pagtulungan nating maisulong ang mga adhikaing makabayan at progresibo, sa loob man o labas ng gobyerno. Wala sa kamay ng isang tao ang pagbabago. Kalahok dito ang buong sambayanan. Magkikita-kita pa rin tayo, sa kalsada at kung saan-saan pa.”

 

From: https://natoreyes.wordpress.com/2016/06/01/magra-rally-pa-ba-kayo

like a rolling stone

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Ilang beses kong nabasa ang tanong na ito matapos i-anunsyo ang pagkakatalaga ng ilang mga progresibo sa susunod na Duterte administration. Dalawa sa mga progresibo ang hahawak sa DAR at DSWD. Tinuturing na mga progresibo din ang hahawak ng DOLE at DepEd.

Sa ganitong kalagayan, magra-rally pa ba ang Kaliwa?

Maikling sagot, OO naman. Marami pang problema ang mangangailangan ng sama-samang pagkilos. Hindi naman nalutas ang lahat ng problema ng bansa dahil lamang may bagong gobyerno. At hindi naman ang pag-upo sa gabinete ang katapusan ng ating gawain. Hindi cabinet appointment, kundi panlipunang pagbabago, ang ipinaglalaban natin.

Pero kung ang tanong ay “magra-rally na ba kayo laban kay Duterte?”, ang sagot diyan ay “hindi pa sa kagyat, wala pang dahilan”. Hindi dahil sangayon tayo sa lahat ng kanyang pahayag at lahat ng kanyang appointments. May pagkakaiba pa rin sa pananaw. Pero ang mga pagkakaiba ng pagtingin ay sisikapin idaan sa pag-uusap…

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The Good Friday homily that melted my heart

‘Well, the people who killed Jesus did so because they couldn’t stand too much love. His love crossed the line to the outrageous. Those arms are better pinned on a cross. They embraced way too many people. Those feet, they refused to toe the line; they’re better off nailed stock-still. And that heart– that heart that’s way too soft on sinners, we must bleed it dry to a full stop. The only thing that can stop outrageous love is outrageous hate. So “crucify him, crucify him.”‘

EvilEmperorSerge

Below is the homily that Fr. Arnel Aquino, S.J. gave today at the Gesu for Good Friday.

I didn’t get to hear this in person. I only stumbled on this when my friend, Harvey Parafina, posted pictures of the sheets of paper it was printed on. I was very moved by the words that I immediately had to type them out. I can only imagine how much more moving this would have been to have heard this in person.

Thank you very much for sharing this online, Harvey. It’s exactly what this time for reflection is all about and what I needed to hear on a night like this.

Waa

A Good Friday Homily by Fr. Arnel Aquino, S.J.

A couple of months ago, ISIS took a video as they incinerated a Jordanian pilot in a cage. My friends said the internet was awash with the footage, but I resisted the temptation of…

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(Since Then) I Hate the Rain

It has been a very long time since I wrote my last poem. Law school has been so demanding. It’s because it was raining so hard, which I was annoyed at, this afternoon that I was move to write a poem about it.

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Also published at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1038341559510951&set=a.199376053407510.50696.100000053506248&type=1