MANILA – An opposition lawmaker mulls to contest the Congress-granted third extension of martial law declaration in the entire island of Mindanao before the Supreme Court.
Albay representative Edcel Lagman said the martial law extension is groundless based on the intelligence report submitted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Only in the Philippines does rebellion exist without a single rebel,” Lagman said in a statement, while citing the AFP report which said that no one has been captured, arrested or charged with rebellion during the second martial law extension.
“It is unmistakable that no one was apprehended or indicted for rebellion because in fact rebellion, which is an armed uprising against the government for the purpose of removing the country or a portion thereof from allegiance to the Republic, does not actually exist,” he added.
According to the 1987 Constitution, the President is allowed to declare martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of the habeas corpus “in case of invasion or rebellion (or) when the public safety requires it” for a period of 60 days.
The Congress last December granted Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until Dec. 31, 2019 due to presence of local terrorist and due to the upcoming midterm elections.
The President has placed the entire island of Mindanao under martial law on May 23, 2017, the same day the ISIS-inspired Maute terrorist group began its siege on Marawi City.
Both houses of Congress jointly extended the martial law twice, with the existing set to expire at the end of the year./PN