SC sets oral arguments on martial law extension

BY ADRIAN STEWART CO

January 13, 2018

MANILA – The Supreme Court (SC) will once again hold oral arguments on the two petitions contesting the one-year extension of martial law in the entire island of Mindanao.

In an en banc session, the high court set the oral arguments on Jan. 16 and 17.

SC spokesperson Theodore Te said the justices decided to combine the petitions since these contest only one thing —the constitutionality of the martial law extension due to absence of actual rebellion.

The two petitions were filed by the minority bloc in the House of Representatives led by Albay’s Cong. Edcel Lagman and human rights advocates and cause-oriented groups represented by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).

“Threats of violence and terrorism by remnants of vanquished terrorist groups do not constitute a constitutional basis for extension of martial law because ‘imminent danger’ has been deleted as a ground for imposing martial law under the 1987 Constitution,” read a portion of Lagman’s petition.

“This is a violation of the Constitution which only allows the imposition of martial law when there is actual rebellion and when the operations of civilian government are substantially impaired that public safety should be preserved,” said NUPL chairman Neri Colmenares in his own petition.

The high court previously voted to affirm the constitutionality of Duterte’s martial law declaration in the entire Mindanao following the attack of the Islamic State-allied Maute terror group in Marawi City on May 26, 2017./PN