3rd suit filed vs martial law

January 21, 2019

A THIRD petition assailing the legality of the extension of martial law in Mindanao has been filed with the Supreme Court.

As this developed, the SC decided yesterday to reset the oral arguments on the case, which was originally scheduled today and tomorrow, to January 29.

A group led by former Commission on Elections chairman Christian Monsod filed the third petition asking the SC to declare the extension of Proclamation No. 216 for another year or until December 2019 as unconstitutional.

Just like the first two petitions filed by opposition lawmakers led by Albay 1st district Rep. Edcel Lagman and militant lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc led by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Monsod’s group also alleged that the factual bases for the declaration or extension of martial law in Mindanao no longer exist.

“The present factual situation no longer calls for an extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,” read the 30-page petition.

Monsod’s group argued that the 1987 Constitution requires that both existence of actual rebellion and requirement of public safety must be met to allow martial law declaration of extension.

“The factual situation present in Mindanao, which is the basis for the president to intimate the extension for martial law; and the Congress to approve does not show that courts or the branches of civilian government are unable to carry out its functions,” they claimed.

Petitioners likewise urged the High Court to fulfill its mandate under Section 18, Article 7 of the Constitution “to be proactive and to independently determine the factual basis of the proclamation or extension of the declaration of a martial law.”

They suggested to the SC to conduct “independent inquiry, investigation, scrutiny and judgment” and not just rely on the report provided by the executive branch.