Rubber stamp of the worst kind.
The one-liner that perfectly describe the present legislative branch of the government.
Showing off its superiority in numbers, the 17th Congress voted to extend martial rule in Mindanao despite the clear absence of the mandatory requirements provided under the 1987 constitution.
The Senate and the House of Representatives in a joint session favorably acted upon the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in the said region for one more year or until the end of 2018 due to what the military says are continuing terrorist threats despite the defeat of the terrorist Maute group.
The upright and principled few in both houses of Congress vehemently objected and voted “no” insisting that the constitutional parameters and indispensable requirements for the declaration or, worse, extension of the already existing martial law are not present.
Those who voted “no” particularly pounced on the absence of actual or real invasion or rebellion which are two of the only valid grounds provided under the fundamental law of the land before martial law may be declared and implemented. But majority of the legislators, towing the line of the Duterte administration, chose to ignore the legitimate objections and concerns raised by their colleagues who opposed the extension.
The voting was so fast that even the minority leader in the Senate, Sen. Franklin Drilon, was not allowed to explain his “no” vote.
This apparent railroad by Congress and the blatant refusal of the majority to prolong democratic debate on the factual, legal and constitutional issues in extending martial law did not escape the netizen’s attention.
Even journalist Lynda Jumilla-Abalos was not able to stop herself from making a sarcastic comment of what transpired.
Other netizens simply expressed their anger in this latest act of Congress of surrendering its independence to the executive branch.
A certain Ryan Aster said that the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao even in the absence of actual rebellion or invasion proves the incompetence of the Duterte administration.
While journalist/blogger Alan Robles accused the president of wanting to grab more power for himself.
On the other hand, some Twitter users blasted some of the lawmakers for their affirmative vote. One of the senators who was on receiving end of the netizen’s ire is Senator Grace Poe who initially manifested that she has reservation for a one-year extension and that she is amenable if the extension is for a shorter period. Nevertheless, Poe said “yes” when it became clear that the affirmative vote has overwhelmingly won.
Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, one of the members of the lower house who voted against the extension, said that the issue will be brought to the Supreme Court with the hope that the highest court of the land will finally act its sacred role of supposedly being the last bulwark of democracy.
But another netizen is not as hopeful as Baguilat citing the past rulings of the Supreme Court.
It is another sad day for democracy and the rule of law in the Philippines.
It is another gloomy day for the nation as the members of 17th Congress, a rubber stamp of the worst, unforgivable kind, chose to be cowards and spineless lapdogs of the murderous and power-hungry tyrant in Malacanang.