SC upholds martial law in Mindanao

MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ruled in favor of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Proclamation 216 placing the entire Mindanao under martial law.

SC spokesman Theodore Te announced the directive was issued following Tuesday’s regular en banc session of the magistrates.

Voting 11-3-1, the high court dismissed the three consolidated petitions challenging the constitutionality of the President’s move.

”The court dismissed the petitions by a vote of 11 of its members, three members voted to partially grant the petitions and one member voted to grant petitions,” Te told reporters during the press briefing.

Te, however, refused to mention the names of the justices who voted for or against the dismissal of the petitions.

The consolidated petitions were filed by opposition lawmakers led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, local Mindanao leaders led by Lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat and a group of women from Marawi led by Norkaya Mohamad, challenged the legality of Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216 imposing a military rule and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao after terrorists occupied Marawi City on May 23.

Te said that all 15 justices have submitted their respective opinions on the matter.

These, however, are expected to be released on Wednesday.

Solicitor General Jose Calida welcomed the high court’s decision, saying it “underscores the existence of a real and present rebellion that threatens the lives of our fellow Filipinos in Mindanao, and their much-cherish liberties.”

”I am grateful to the magistrates of the Honorable Supreme Court for allowing President Duterte to perform his prime duty of protecting the Filipino people. As the conscience of our nation, the supreme court did not sit idly to watch our country get dismembered. In fact, this decision shows that the Honorable Supreme Court is one with the president in protecting and defending our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Calida said in a statement.

”Finally, I implore the whole country to unite and pray that the bloody war in Mindanao will end the soonest. It is my fervent hope that stability and lasting peace be attained in the whole Mindanao,” he added.

The SC ended the three-day oral arguments on the three consolidated petitions challenging the constitutionality of Duterte’s proclamation of martial law in Mindanao last June 15.

President Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216, on May 23 declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao. This was a result of the attack of the Maute group in Marawi City, which is still ongoing and is subject to military operations.

Two other petitions were filed by separate groups led by former Senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada both seeking issuance of a mandamus that would compel Senate and the House of Representatives to convene jointly to review the declaration. The SC has yet to act on these petitions.

Last June 8, the SC consolidated the two mandamus petitions asking the high court to order the Senate and the House of Representatives to convene in joint session and vote jointly on President Duterte’s Proclamation 216 declaring martial law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.  with  Stephon Villanueva (OJT)/

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