OPPOSITION lawmakers at the House of Representatives, led by Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay, will no longer question the legality of the five-month extension of martial law in Mindanao.
This developed after Lagman’s group and its allies suffered two setbacks before the High Court.
Lagman cited the Supreme Court decision denying his petition to compel the House leadership to recognize and install Rep. Teddy Baguilat, Jr. of Ifugao as the legitimate minority leader based on tradition and Rules of the House since he was the clear runner-up to Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte during the election for Speakership.
Likewise, the high court also junked the two petitions for mandamus filed by former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, former senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada, among others, to compel Congress to meet in joint session to consider revoking the declaration of martial law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in Proclamation 216 covering Mindanao.
“In the wake of the Supreme Court’s adverse decisions upholding congressional discretion, the ‘Magnificent 7’ opposition congressmen have decided not to file a petition challenging the constitutionality of the congressional extension of 150 days of the declaration of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao,” Lagman said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has asked Congress for a five-month extension of martial law in Mindanao to suppress an alleged rebellion from combined forces of the Maute group, Abu Sayyaf, Ansarul Khilafah Philippines and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
“The present composition of the Supreme Court may not be disposed to favorably act on the petition after it has refused to exercise jurisdiction against the legislature in two mandamus cases,” Lagman added.
Lagman and his colleagues in the opposition also questioned the legality of Proclamation 216 before the Supreme Court, which it affirmed in a recent ruling.