Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Tuesday (June 6) acknowledged the Supreme Court’s obligation to behave as a referee amid debates on whether or not Congress ought to convene in a joint session to debate President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial regulation.

“If there are differing interpretations of a constitutional provision, then the SC should step in as the referee,” he stated. “Let us be guided by the SC pronouncement on the issue.”

Pimentel made the assertion on the heels of the submitting by Senator Leila de Lima and 300 different attorneys of a petition asking the Supreme Court to compel Congress to convene in joint session to debate Proclamation No. 216 declaring martial regulation.

The attorneys argued that the 1987 Constitution mandated Congress to convene in joint session as a safeguard towards abuse of martial regulation, much like what occurred throughout the time of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

They stated the Senate and House of Representatives have unlawfully uncared for their obligation by selecting to not hold a joint session to debate martial regulation.

Aside from De Lima, different outstanding attorneys who joined in submitting the petition had been former Sen. Rene Saguisag, former Commisssion on Elections (Comelec) chair Christian Monsod, former Commission on Human Right (CHR) chair Etta Rosales, and human rights defenders Alexander Padilla and Rene Ballesteros.

Pimentel was amongst the 12 senators who voted towards the adoption of Senate decision No. 390, filed by the higher chamber’s minority bloc members, which known as for the Senate and the House of Representatives to convene in joint session and deliberate on Duterte’s declaration of a state of martial regulation and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the entire Mindanao.

Pimentel and 16 different colleagues in the majority bloc handed Resolution No. 377 expressing the sense of the Senate supporting the President’s declaration, citing that precise rebellions exists and public security requires such imposition in Mindanao.