SC asserts martial law in Mindanao constitutional

BY ADRIAN STEWART CO

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

MANILA – The Supreme Court ruled with finality on Tuesday that the proclamation of martial law in Mindanao was constitutional.

In an en banc session, 10 justices voted to dismiss the motion for reconsideration filed against an earlier ruling stating the constitutionality of the martial rule.

They were Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Mendoza, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires, Noel Tijam, Bienvenido Reyes, and Mariano del Castillo.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and associate justices Antonio Carpio and Benjamin Caguioa had reservations on the territorial coverage while Associate Justice Marvic Leonen was the lone dissenter.

Three petitions against the martial law – including one from opposition House representatives Edcel Lagman, Tomasito Villarin, Rodolfo Alejano, Emmanuel Billones, Teddy Baguilat Jr.m and Edgar Erice – were filed before the high court.

All the petitions asserted that Duterte had no factual basis to proclaim martial law, saying that there was no rebellion or invasion and that the Armed Forces of the Philippines did not recommend it.

While in Moscow, the President placed the entire Mindanao under martial law on May 23 after the armed clashes between government troops and the Maute group – Islamic State sympathizers – Marawi City.

The encounters went on to become a five-month long war that displaced thousands and killed hundreds before ending in October./PN