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Joint resolution on martial law extension missing Lagman.

MANILA, Philippines The official or "enrolled" copy of the Senate-House of Representatives resolution extending martial law up to the end of next year is apparently missing, opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman said yesterday.

"The respective secretariats of the House and the Senate are in a quandary as to the preparation or whereabouts of the enrolled copy of the joint resolution documenting the approval on Dec. 13, 2017 of the President's request for a one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao," Lagman said.

But Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he has "no idea" about Lagman's claim. "What I know is we passed it (joint resolution) in joint session in full public view," Pimentel said.

Lagman said he inquired from the House secretariat and was told that it was "still coordinating with the Senate on the reconciled version of the resolution." Turning to the Senate, he was informed that the House "has not yet transmitted (it) to us.

" Lagman wanted to obtain a copy of the resolution in preparation for his questioning the joint Congress decision. Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1 "After extending with inordinate haste the duration of martial law in Mindanao effective Jan.

1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2018, the covering joint resolution is nowhere to be found or has not even been prepared or enrolled eight days after the joint session adjourned," he said.

He maintained the two chambers of Congress took only a few hours to extend martial law "based on a verbal motion without circulating any copy of a written joint resolution." Informed of Lagman's complaint, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariaas said, "Since the resolution will take effect on Jan.

1, there is no need to rush it like Rep. Lagman wishes for.

" "Unlike bills approved by Congress, a joint resolution does not have to be transmitted to the President for his approval. The Speaker and I have already signed the joint resolution and (it) will be transmitted to our Senate counterparts for their signatures.

Rep. Lagman may rest assured that the joint resolution will be duly enrolled before its effectivity on Jan.

1, 2018," he said. Lagman and the others who voted against extending martial rule in Mindanao claimed that the extension has no basis, since there is no actual rebellion or invasion the only ground allowed under the Constitution for declaring or prolonging martial law.

They said the reasons cited by the President in his martial law extension request were based on "mere threats," which state forces could deal with without martial law. Before voting for martial law extension, senators belonging to the majority bloc led by Pimentel expressed fears of possible abuses in the enforcement of military rule.

Members of the opposition bloc, led by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, had said there was no valid justification for the extension and warned that it would not have its desired effect. Drilon had said the declaration of martial law was an extreme measure reserved for real and actual emergencies.

"If we continue to go down this track, there might come a time that truly calls for the declaration of martial law. By then, however, we will no longer have a trump card up our sleeve.

Martial law would merely be a once-sharp blade that we had dulled through needless and constant use," he said. Paolo Romero

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:Dec 22, 2017
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