Another suit filed vs martial law extension

January 16, 2019

ANOTHER petition challenging the legality of the third extension of martial law in Mindanao was filed before the Supreme Court yesterday.

In a 39-page petition, the Makabayan bloc led by Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate urged the SC to void for being unconstitutional Resolution of Both Houses of Congress that approved the request of President Duterte for a one-year extension or until December 2019.

They argued that there was no factual basis -- particularly rebellion and public safety requirement -- to continue placing Mindanao under martial law.

Petitioners alleged that martial law is no longer necessary as the government already admitted that Mindanao is now under control.

“The alleged rebellion being staged by the different groups does not endanger public safety as contemplated by the Constitution to justify the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,” they claimed.

They stressed that the President’s letter to Congress specifically “shows the significant progress of government to quell the rebellion in the Mindanao region, that in fact, the government no longer qualifies or categorizes such rebellion as being actual.”

“The government claims that it has ‘reduced,’ ‘neutralized,’ ‘dismantled,’ ‘weakened’ the rebels; that it has caused the reduction in the number of atrocities, and that crime incidence has decreased. All these brought about, in 2018, ‘remarkable economic gains in Mindanao.’ If the civilian government was capable of functioning in 2018, then the more reason that it can effectively function in 2019 because of the ‘gains’ reported by President Duterte,” read the petition.

Petitioners also claimed that the public safety requirement no longer exists in Mindanao to warrant the continuing imposition of martial law.

“Petitioners contend that the civilian government continues to function in all of Mindanao; hence, the public safety requirement of the Constitution for the imposition of martial law has not been fulfilled,” they stressed.