Wrap up: The first joint session of Congress to tackle the President’s report on the proclamation of Martial Law

That was a great front act on the first joint session of Congress to deliberate on the President’s report on PD 1959, the proclamation of Martial Law.
When Maguindanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen asked where the President was, the simple reply of House Speaker Prospero Nograles was that she had substantially complied with the requirements of the Constitution: she had submitted her report to Congress on Sunday, and the newly-drafted rules on the joint session did not require her to be present.
Makati Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr. then pointed out that Dilangalen was one of those who had a petition questioning the proclamation at the Supreme Court, and said he was forum shopping.
Dilangalen, of course, had to answer that, though Nograles already said that Dilangalen, as a member of the House of Representatives, had “every right to talk in this chamber.”
The allegation was “preposterous” and “out of order,” Dilangalen said. The session was suspended, after which Locsin apologized to Dilangalen and said that, because there are other more important things that need to be tackled, he would rather that they move on to the business at hand.
“I did not come here to be insulted,” Dilangalen said, apparently unwilling to be pacified.
Nograles pointed out the remarks have already been withdrawn.
“If this continues I might change my mind,” said Teddyboy, and again session was suspended.
Of course they kissed and made up after that: “Teddyboy is a very good friend of mine,” Dilangalen said, adding that he was Teddyboy was only testing him. “Thank you very much I forgive you Teddyboy.”

One by one, the first congressmen to interpellate the cabinet secretaries and the military and police officers asked what was the basis for martial rule in the province of Maguindanao.
There was no judge in branch 15 of the regional trial court in Cotabato City, Dilangalen said, because the last judge was killed and no one has been assigned since then. The other two judges, in branch 13 and 14, were away on a hadj, with the permission of the Supreme Court.
To this Acting Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera simply said: I don’t know about that. She didn’t change her line, though, that one of the indications that there was a rebellion on the ground was the fact that the courts had stopped functioning in Cotabato City.

Was it rebellion, not sedition? Asked Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman. Where was the mass, public uprising, he asked of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.
“It is not necessary that there was actual fighting,” Ermita said. “You may be correct there was no actual rebellion going on but from all indications rebellion was being committed and happening on the ground because of the presence of armed groups that prevent [government authority from being implemented].”
“There need not be violent clashes. We have seen in the reports that there wass really massing of these people who are heavily armed,” Devanadera said when asked by Sen. Benigno Aquino III about the element of public uprising that was needed to commit the crime of rebellion.
When Noynoy pointed out that no one has withdrawn their allegiance from government, that a few days ago the vice governor of the ARMM was at the Senate for the budget hearings, Devanadera stuck to the script: the courts were not functioning, the local governments were closed, and there were large numbers of armed men massing around.
Partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo, who was charged with rebellion himself, pointed out that rebellion, aside from being a political charge, is hard to prove. It took the government nine months to prepare the trumped-up rebellion charges against him about two years ago, and these were dismissed.
“How many rebellion cases has government filed and successfully prosecuted?” he asked.
“I would not want to preempt efforts of the prosecution on this,” Devanadera said.


One Response

  1. I pity Secretary Devanadera for embracing the dark side. She had been an intelligent and was once a rising legal and political luminary. But now she had been corrupted by Mrs. Arroyo. She too has now to invent things just to defend her boss.

    Wake up Atty. Devanadera. You still have time.

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