Congress leaves martial law alone

MANILA, Philippines—The historic joint session of Congress adjourned at 8:15 Monday night without taking a stand on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s declaration of martial law in Maguindanao province.

Hours before adjourning, however, the Senate adopted a resolution saying that the martial law proclamation was unconstitutional even after Ms Arroyo lifted it on Saturday.

Speaker Prospero Nograles said most senators and representatives felt that the lifting of martial law had rendered moot and academic a vote by the joint session of Congress on Ms Arroyo’s imposition of martial law.

“We just allowed those who want to speak on the floor to have their time because there is no gag order in Congress,” Nograles said.

It was the first time under the 1987 Constitution that a country’s leader had declared martial law.

The 1987 Constitution mandates a joint session of Congress to approve or revoke a martial law declaration by a simple majority.

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