Jul 082017

Senator Chiz Escudero, .(MNS photo)

MANILA, July 6 (Mabuhay) –Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo should “exercise more prudence” in his statements over martial law in Mindanao, following the latter’s remark that another proclamation is necessary should Congress deem an extension unnecessary.

“If its for the same area and to address the same threat, it is, for all intents and purposes, an extension and not a ‘re-declaration’,” Escudero, also a lawyer, said in a text message to reporters on Wednesday.

“I hope the legal advisers of the President will exercise more prudence instead of advising him about ‘trailblazing legal theories’ that may raise more constitutional issues than settling them,” he added.

Panelo earlier said Duterte could still implement martial law even without congressional approval by signing another proclamation.

“If Congress does not extend the 60th day upon the initiative of the President then there can be no extension. Another proclamation is necessary,” said Panelo.

Duterte signed Proclamation No. 216, declaring martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao, on May 23 while he was in Moscow, Russia a few hours after ISIS-inspired Maute group attacked Marawi City.

The 60-day martial law proclamation, the validity of which had been upheld by the Supreme Court, will lapse on July 22.

Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution states that Congress may revoke or extend the proclamation of martial law “voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its members in regular or special session.”

Senator Richard Gordon said Duterte may request for an extension during his second state address on July 24, as Congress is convened in joint session.

“Everybody will expect a report on what has happened because of martial law and what is the factual situation occurring at the time of the State of the Nation [Address],” Gordon said. (MNS)

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