Lawyers group 'weeps' for Mindanao as SC affirms constitutionality of Martial Law

Jul 05, 2017, 00:24
Lawyers group 'weeps' for Mindanao as SC affirms constitutionality of Martial Law

The entire military is thankful for the Supreme Court (SC)'s decision which ruled in favor of President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration to place the entire Mindanao region under Martial Law in wake of the Marawi City crisis.

Supreme Court spokesman Theodore Te said Tuesday that 11 of 15 justices voted to dismiss the consolidated petitions filed by opposition lawmakers, activist groups and four women from Marawi — the southern city where an attack by Islamic State-aligned militants prompted Duterte to declare martial law on May 23.

The court's favorable decision on martial law, according to Sen.

All justices wrote separate concurring or dissenting opinions, to be submitted today, Wednesday.

The same section also grants special jurisdiction to the SC to review the "sufficiency of the factual basis" of such declaration or suspension.

During oral arguments on petitions that questioned martial rule, Solicitor General Jose Calida said Duterte's martial law declaration can be likened to a "calling out power on steroids". "As the conscience of our nation, the Supreme Court did not sit idly to watch our country get dismembered", Calida said.

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In seeking the dismissal of the petitions, Calida asked the SC to give Duterte the chance to perform his constitutional mandate of protecting the people.

The government said that 66 people had been detained under the regime for their connection with the Marawi jihadists, including the parents of the Maute brothers, two of the leaders of the insurgency.

"Now that the legal debacle is done and over with, we should stand united and fully support the Martial Law in Mindanao", he said.

The president urged them to remain alert and steadfast until the objective of wiping out the terrorists has been achieved.

"This is a bad omen that militarists and the President will be more emboldened to continue martial law beyond 60 days, and it's possible that this would be imposed all over the country", Mr. Reyes added.

He added that with the decision, the SC also became complicit with the abuses being committed under Duterte's martial law. They said the proclamation contained "fatal inaccuracies and falsities".

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Zarate also described the martial law as a "monster" that will target civilians and organizations considered as sympathetic and supportive of the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army) based on the provision of the Operational Directive Number 2-2017 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Despite Duterte's antagonism toward US and Australian officials, who have criticized his bloody crackdown on illegal drugs, the Western allies have deployed surveillance planes to help Philippine troops track down the remaining militants in Marawi.

The petitioners needed at least eight votes from the Supreme Court to nullify the martial law proclamation in Mindanao.

"... The intention of martial law is to contain the area of conflict and to put an end to the rebellion by the terrorist Maute group and had no threat to basic freedom and Constitution is functioning", Ejercito said.

"Whatever the issue, Congress legislates, the Executive implements and the Judiciary rules on questions of law and fact", Honasan said.

"This confirms our earlier statement that the filing of the petitions questioning the sufficiency of the factual basis for the President's declaration of martial law is part of the baseless and divisive motive to spread black propaganda against the administration by the same old critics of the President", Duterte's head lawyer said.

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