SC can’t dictate Congress on what to do — Alvarez

MANILA — House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday asserted the independence of the legislature as he vowed to defy the Supreme Court (SC) should it compel Congress to convene in a joint session to tackle President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

In an ambush interview, Alvarez said the high court has no jurisdiction to “dictate” Congress on what to do, considering that they are co-equal branches of government.

There are currently three petitions filed before the SC to challenge the constitutionality of the martial law declaration, and to compel both Houses of Congress to convene jointly to review the President’s report.

“They should go back to their law books. How can the Supreme Court dictate Congress (on) what to do? We’re co-equal bodies. I’ll tear apart any directive issued by Supreme Court telling Congress, dictating Congress to convene in a joint session,” Alvarez said in Filipino.

Alvarez warned that the petitioners could have precipitated a constitutional crisis if a clash between Congress and the Supreme Court were to ensue.

“There would surely be a constitutional crisis and it won’t be our fault anymore,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez said he would be represented in the case by the Solicitor General.

The Speaker reiterated that the House of Representatives would not heed any order from the Supreme Court directing Congress to convene in a joint session.

“I already submitted it (our position) to the Office of the Solicitor General. And our position is that the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction over that,” the lawmaker said.

Alvarez could not find any logic behind the petitioners’ insistence on a joint session over martial law in Mindanao, noting that it could also be a scheme to promote their political interests.

He explained that both the Senate and the House already adopted their respective resolutions expressing support to the martial law proclamation.

“Now, if we convene a joint session, what will we discuss? We already know the decision. Maybe they want some sort of grandstanding regarding the joint session,” Alvarez said. Filane Mikee Cervantes/