SC: Congress to convene only for revocation, extension of martial law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 25) — The Supreme Court has spoken.

Congress needs to convene jointly only if it intends to revoke or extend the declaration of martial law.

Voting unanimously, the high court junked the petitions asking for congress to convene jointly to review the martial law proclamation.

The court rules that congress did not gravely abuse its discretion in not convening jointly.

Associate Justices Marvic Leonen and Alfred Benjamin Caguioa concurred in the result.

They say the controversy was moot and academic.

The statement, read by Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te today said, "Article vii, Section 18 imposes no such duty on congress to convene, where such duty (to convene and vote) being limited to instances where congress intends to revoke or extend any proclamation of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus."

Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, one of the petitioners, says the court's decision is a step away from accountability and transparency.

A path, he adds, that congress had already taken when it extended martial law.