SC: 3rd M’nao martial law extension constitutional

A Filipino soldier walks as government troops continue their assault against insurgents from the ISIS-inspired Maute group in Marawi City on July 1, 2017. REUTERS

MANILA – The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s one-year martial law extension in Mindanao.

In a 9-4 vote, the high court justices ruled in favor of the third martial law extension and suspension of privilege of writ of habeas corpus by dismissing the four petitions against it.

Those who favored the extension were Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, Diosdado Peralta, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, Jose Reyes Jr., Ramon Hernando, and Rosmari Carandang.

SC Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, and Benjamin Caguioa, meanwhile, voted against the continuous martial rule in Mindanao.

The SC justices decided on the petitions filed by minority lawmakers led by Albay representative Edcel Lagman, progressive representatives of the Makabayan bloc, human rights groups led by Constitution framer Christian Monsod, and a group of Lumad teachers and a student from Mindanao.

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 the martial law 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 has jointly extended the martial law twice, with the existing set to expire at the end of the year, since terrorist threats are still prevalent in the entire region./PN


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