Supreme Court again backs martial law in south

February 19, 2019
Supreme Court

For the third time, the Supreme Court rules in favor of martial law in Mindanao,upholding its extension until year end.

VOTING 9-4, the Supreme Court yesterday upheld the constitutionality of the third extension of martial law and suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

The extension is up to the end of this year.

Those who voted to dismiss the consolidated petitions, which questioned the extension,  were Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin, and Justices Diosdado Peralta, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Andres Reyes Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, Jose Reyes Jr., Ramon Paul Hernando, and Rosmari Carandang.

On the other hand, those who voted to grant the petitions were Justices Antonio Carpio, Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa dissented.

In their memorandum, petitioners led by Albay 1st district Rep. Edcel Lagman reiterated that there was no factual basis to justify the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

They argued that the attacks by terror groups and violent incidents in Mindanao were acts of terrorism and not rebellion as required by law in declaring martial law.

“The following acts of terrorism and lawless violence mentioned in the letter dated 06 December 2018 of the President do not per se evince the existence of rebellion and the President failed to connect or relate said acts to rebellion or furtherance of rebellion,” petitioners insisted.

“Terrorism is not equivalent to rebellion because they differ in motive, target and scope: While terrorism has the purpose of sowing fear and panic among the populace, rebellion is an armed uprising against the government for the culpable purpose of removing the country or a portion thereof from allegiance to the Republic or preventing the President or the Congress from exercising their respective powers,” their pleading read.

On the other hand, Solicitor General Jose Calida cited several attacks attributed to the New People’s Army in Mindanao, which he stressed were clearly acts of rebellion. With 

He reiterated that the Jolo Cathedral bombing is proof of the ongoing threat to public safety in Mindanao posed by local terrorist groups.

It’s the third time the SC agreed with the Duterte administration on the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

The high court in July 2017 upheld the original martial law proclamation. It likewise supported in February 2018 the constitutionality of the year-long extension of martial law to the end of that year.
GMA ‘very happy’

Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yesterday welcomed the Supreme Court ruling affirming the constitutionality of the third extension of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao until December 31, 2019.

“It’s good, we’re very happy because we voted to extend it,” Arroyo told reporters in an ambush interview after attending the House oversight hearing on the Department of Public Works and Highways’ (DPWH) flood control projects.

In a joint session on Dec. 12, 2018, 12 senators voted to support martial rule while five opposed and only Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto abstained.

The House of Representatives voted 223 against 23 with no abstention.

“The House of Representatives believes that the security assessment submitted by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) Chief of Staff and the Philippine National Police Director General to the President indubitably shows that the continuing rebellion in Mindanao which compels further extension of the implementation of Martial Law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period of one year, from January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019,” then House Majority Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr., now the chairman of the House committee on appropriations, told the joint session in his motion to approve the martial law proclamation.  

With Ryan Ponce Pacpaco