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AFP lauds SC ruling on Martial Law in Mindanao

05 July, 2017, 00:27 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • AN old woman named ‘Linda,’ 62 receives water after being rescued from the combat zone where she and her family were trapped more than five weeks in Marawi City

The decision was reached by the 15-man High Tribunal during its regular en banc session.

The Philippine Supreme Court upheld on Tuesday the president's declaration of martial law in the south in a legal boost to a military offensive that the defence chief said may soon succeed in quelling an uprising by Islamic State group-linked militants.

The SC on Tuesday scrapped all the petitions against martial law declaration - 11 of the magistrates voted for the dismissal of the petitions; three said the petitions can be partially approved, and one said the petitions should be granted. "All opinions will be submitted by tomorrow", Te announced.

The martial law is legally limited to 60 days, and the green light of the parliament is necessary to prolong it. Mr Duterte said that he could indeed extend it and he also threatened to extend it if necessary to the whole country.

The same section also grants special jurisdiction to the SC to review the "sufficiency of the factual basis" of such declaration or suspension.

The frustrated petitioners said the SC decision sets a new standard of basis for the declaration of martial law, one that glosses over the plight of the people of Mindanao who are directly affected by the human rights abuses of martial law, while blindly favoring the warmongering by government and its foreign allies.

In a statement, Konsyensya Dabaw said the immediate challenge, aside from looking into filing a motion for reconsideration, is "making sure that the ruling does not get used for objectives beyond what the Supreme Court ruled was constitutional".

President Duterte gestures as he reiterates that his only mandate as the country's head of state is to protect and preserve the Filipinos in his speech during the province's 50th founding anniversary at the Davao del Sur Sports and Business Complex in Digos City on July 1, 2017.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella, for his part, said that with the SC affirming Proclamation No. 216, "the whole government now stands together as one against a common enemy".

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"I had no doubts that the President validly, with factual basis, declared martial law", Pimentel said.

Petitioner Renato Reyes, who is also Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) secretary-general, told reporters he was not surprised with the decision, but warned the "SC has only made it easier to declare martial law all over the country". They said the proclamation contained "fatal inaccuracies and falsities".

They further claimed that Proclamation 216 is "flawed", as it was imposed without consultation and recommendation from officials of the Department of National Defense or the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

"I urge you to remain steadfast and alert as martial law in Mindanao will remain in effect to counter the persistent threat of terrorism and insurgency", Duterte said.

"We must not let our guards down against the emergence of terrorism and banditry in the area", Duterte said.

The unprecedented urban attack has alarmed Southeast Asian and Western governments, which fear that the Islamic State group's brutal rule in Syria and Iraq, now collapsing, may have galvanized Asian militants into attempting to create their own so-called Islamic caliphate in the region with funds from Middle East-based jihadis.

"Whatever the issue, Congress legislates, the Executive implements and the Judiciary rules on questions of law and fact", Honasan said.

Duterte has faced a backlash from opposition politicians, who last month asked the Supreme Court to reject the declaration of martial law, which they have slammed as unconstitutional.

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