Displaying items by tag: martial law

Opposition lawmakers hit Duterte's 'whimsical' martial law request

But Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez says Congress will probably grant the President's request to extend martial law, citing a survey that says majority of Filipinos support the original proclamation

Mara Cepeda

REQUEST TO CONGRESS. President Rodrigo Duterte, shown here delivering a speech on July 4, 2017, wants Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2017. Malacañang file photo

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition lawmakers questioned why President Rodrigo Duterte is asking Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of December.

In a statement on Tuesday, July 18, Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin tagged the President's proposal as "whimsical."

"It's a whimsical proposal that has no substantive grounds other than the President's wishes. From verbalizing 60 days in a dinner with congressional leaders, now the President wants to make it 5 months," said Villarin.

"It seems they are [neither] sure when to end martial law nor do they have clear outcomes. It is sending jitters to everyone who [doesn't] want it extended or expanded," he added.

The President first told ranking members of the Senate and the House about his request to extend martial law in Mindanao by 60 days in a meeting on Monday evening, July 17.

The next day, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella read out the President's official letter to Congress, which is now requesting for an extension of martial law until December 31. Congress is set to convene jointly to discuss this on Saturday, July 22.

Duterte had declared martial law over the entire Mindanao through Proclamation No. 216, after government troops clashed with homegrown terrorists from the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group on May 23.

Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr said he still cannot understand Duterte's rationale for declaring martial law in Mindanao. He was among the petitioners who challenged Proclamation No. 216 before the Supreme Court, but the justices junked the petitions in a vote of 11-3-1.

"Has the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) presented solid and concrete reasons why it needs 5 months to annihilate Maute and [Islamic State]-aligned terrorists in Marawi? Are both AFP and PNP (Philippine National Police) saying that the terrorist threat has expanded beyond Lanao to include all of Mindanao and that 5 months of martial law is needed to control that threat?" asked Baguilat.

"I still can't understand what extraordinary powers has ML added to the combative prowess of the AFP in fighting terrorism," he added.

Despite the opposition lawmakers' apprehensions, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez thinks Congress will be granting Duterte's request.

"Sa tingin ko ano, tuloy-tuloy lang ito. Seriously, kasi nakita naman natin ano, in all surveys, talagang pabor 'yung taong bayan do'n sa declaration ng martial law sa Mindanao. Ibig sabihin, na-appreciate nila kung gaano kabigat 'yung problema," said Alvarez in a radio interview.

(I think this will just continue. Seriously, because you can see in the surveys that the people agree with the declaration of martial law in Mindanao. This means they appreciate how serious the problem is.)

He was referring to the latest Social Weather Stations survey showing that more than half of Filipinos support Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao, but more than 6 out of 10 Filipinos oppose expanding military rule to the Visayas and Luzon.

Other House leaders earlier said lawmakers would likely grant an extension of martial law. – Rappler.com


Martial law an urgent measure for nation’s survival — SC

By: Tetch Torres-Tupas - Reporter / @T2TupasINQINQUIRER.net

Photo: DUTERTE UPHELDThe Supreme Court justices, shown in this June 13 photo taken on the first day of oral arguments on President Duterte’s martial law declaration, have voted to affirm it. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

The Constitution gives the President the authority to place any part or the entire Philippines under martial law, the Supreme Court said in its decision declaring as valid Proclamation 216 or President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law proclamation in Mindanao.

“There is no constitutional edict that martial law should be confined only in the particular place where the armed public uprising actually transpired. This is not only practical but also logical,” the Supreme Court said in its 82-page decision written by Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo.

“Martial law is an urgent measure since at stake is the nation’s territorial sovereignty and survival,” the high court added.

Ten other justices concurred in the decision including Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo – De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Jose Mendoza, Bienvenido Reyes, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires and Noel Tijam – and all submitted their concurring opinions.

The high court pointed out that the President need not wait for the armed conflict in Marawi to spread to other areas in Mindanao.

“The President has to respond quickly… The President’s duty to maintain peace and public safety is not limited only to the place where there is actual rebellion; it extends to other areas where the present hostilities are in danger of spilling over,” the high court added.

“Clearly, the power to determine the scope of territorial application belongs to the President,” the high court said.

The high court said while its duty was to determine the sufficiency of factual basis in the declaration of martial law, it only has to rely on the same information given to the President.

It pointed out that it has no capacity to verify every intelligence data which has become the basis for the proclamation.

”The Court found that there was sufficient factual basis for the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus over the whole of Mindanao,” read the decision which was released in line with the 30-day deadline for the SC to resolve the petitions filed last June 5.


”The entirety of Proclamation No. 216 and the Report submitted to Congress suffice to show that there was an armed public uprising, the culpable purpose of which was to remove from the allegiance of the Philippine Government a portion of its territory and to deprive the Chief Executive of any of his powers and prerogatives. This led the President to believe that there was probable cause for the crime of rebellion and that public safety required the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,” it added.

Petitioners said that there were information used as basis in the proclamation which, upon verification did not actually happen.

But the high court pointed out that they should also not expect absolute correctness of the facts stated in the proclamation and in the President’s Written Report as the President cannot be expected to verify the accuracy and veracity of all facts reported to him due to the urgency of the situation. To require precision in the President’s appreciation of facts would unduly burden him and therefore impede the process of decision making.

The Court noted that the sufficiency of the factual basis should not be affected if subsequent events show that the situation had not been accurately reported to the President since the Court’s review is limited to sufficiency, not accuracy, of the factual basis.

Three justices voted to partially grant the petitions: Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa. They believed that while there was factual basis for declaration of martial law, it should be limited in scope and should have not covered entire Mindanao.

In her 51-page dissenting opinion, Sereno said martial law should only cover the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Sulu.

She disagreed with the majority opinion that the discretion on the coverage of the martial law should be left to the President as it is an executive duty.

“Martial law is an extraordinary measure necessitating the exercise of extraordinary power. Nevertheless, the President, in the exercise of his commander-in-chief powers, does not have unbridled discretion as to when, where and how martial law is to be declared,” Sereno explained.

Only Associate Justice Marvic Leonen voted to grant the petitions and declare the proclamation as invalid for lack of factual basis.

Leonen believed that the government failed to justify the necessity for declaration of martial law and why other powers of the President – including the power to call out the military – would not suffice to address the problem in Mindanao.

He said the respondents represented by Calida “failed to show what additional legal powers will be added by martial law except perhaps to potentially put on the shoulders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines the responsibilities and burdens of the entire civilian government over the entire Mindanao region.”

Leonen said the situation in Mindanao involves only “acts of terrorism which should be addresses in a decisive but more precise manner.”

“Never again should this Court allow itself to step aside when the powerful invoke vogue powers that feed on fear but could potentially undermine our most cherished rights. Never again should we fall victim to a false narrative that a vague declaration of martial law is good for us no matter the circumstances. We have the courage to never again clothe authoritarianism in any disguise with the mantle of constitutionality,” read his 92-page dissenting opinion. CBB



Martial Law proclamation upheld

By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) 

Photo: A majority or 11 of the 15 justices of the high court voted in regular session to dismiss the three consolidated petitions against Duterte’s decision to place the entire Mindanao under martial law through Proclamation 216. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte’s martial law declaration that set into motion a bloody campaign to retake a city besieged by terrorists is definitely legal, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled yesterday.

A majority or 11 of the 15 justices of the high court voted in regular session to dismiss the three consolidated petitions against Duterte’s decision to place the entire Mindanao under martial law through Proclamation 216.

The proclamation set the stage for the battle to recapture Marawi City from Maute terrorists who are believed to have links to the Middle East-based Islamic State (IS). Aiding the Maute militants are Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Isnilon Hapilon.

More than 400 have been killed since the start of the siege of the predominantly Muslim city on May 23.

“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 the petitions,” SC spokesman Theodore Te said in a press conference. “That’s all I am authorized to announce.”

Petitioners wanted Proclamation 216 revoked for lack of necessary factual basis.

Te said only after all of the 15 magistrates have submitted their respective opinions on the case today would their opinions be made public.

SC sources said three of the justices believed martial law was justified only in Marawi: Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Alfredo Caguioa.

Only Justice Marvic Leonen believed there was no basis for martial law, the sources said.

The rest upheld Proclamation 216: Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Francis Jardeleza, Samuel Martires, Jose Mendoza, Diosdado Peralta, Bienvenido Reyes, Noel Tijam and Presbitero Velasco Jr.

While Te announced the outcome of the voting, he did not reveal details such as how each of the justices had voted.

President Duterte slammed those who did not uphold Proclamation 216.

“When you declare martial law, you have to use your coconut, the grey matter between your ears,” the President said in a chance interview in Bulacan, as he explained that the Mindanao-wide coverage was meant to prevent a spillover of the Maute threat.

At Malacañang, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the development has made Duterte more determined to end the “evil of terrorism” in Mindanao.

“He will not waver in this commitment to end rebellion, the evil of terrorism and to liberate Marawi. With the Supreme Court decision, the whole government now stands together as one against a common enemy,” Abella said.

In dismissing the petitions against martial law, Abella said the SC has acknowledged that ending the Marawi siege was a “shared responsibility” of everyone.

The Senate and the House of Representatives had earlier voiced support for martial law in Mindanao.

“The High Court has spoken: Proclamation 216 is constitutional. The President is sworn to protect the Filipino people,” Abella said.

“We ask the public to give their full support and cooperation to local authorities. After all, securing communities is a responsibility that must be shared by everyone,” he said.

Solicitor General Jose Calida said the SC, in its ruling, has affirmed the existence of a “real and present rebellion that threatens the lives of our fellow Filipinos in Mindanao, and their much-cherish liberties.”

Calida led the defense of Duterte’s proclamation before the high tribunal.

“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,” Calida said in a statement.

“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,” he said.

“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,” Calida stressed.

During oral arguments last June 13 to 15, Calida argued that the attack of the Maute group was not just an act of terror, but a clear rebellion and a plot to establish an Islamic State in Mindanao.

Checks and balance
Vice President Leni Robredo said the SC’s decision was “an affirmation of the democratic set in our Constitution.”

“This is an important component of the mandated checks and balances to martial law,” Robredo said in a statement, referring to the SC ruling.

“We expect that Congress will likewise fulfill its constitutional duty to review, on behalf of the people, the declaration of martial law in Mindanao,” she said.

As expected, senators from the majority bloc welcomed the SC ruling.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he had no doubt that Duterte “validly, with factual basis, declared martial law.”

“Nothing surprising with the SC decision. I actually expected that. The SC was just doing its job,” Pimentel said.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said the SC ruling has put to rest all questions on the legality of the martial law declaration. “It is time to show a united front against terrorism and lawless violence and, more importantly, begin the urgent work of rebuilding the communities in Marawi City,” he said.

“The intention is to contain the area of conflict and to put an end to the rebellion by the terrorist Maute group. No threat to basic freedom and Constitution is functioning. The real intent is to crush terrorism and rebellion, and nothing else,” Ejercito said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate committee on public order, said the factual basis for the proclamation is clear enough “that there could not have been any other ruling as overwhelmingly decisive as the one rendered by the SC.”

“I knew we did right in supporting the martial law proclamation in Mindanao when we debated on it in caucus and in plenary,” Lacson said.

“I can only hope that none of our Senate colleagues will call the magistrates lapdogs and cowards of the administration,” he said, referring to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s comment on fellow senators.

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said he felt relieved on learning of the decision as it could help government troops battle “these Maute terrorists and their affiliates, without a cloud of doubt on their mandate to do so.”

“The government must now focus and concentrate on getting rid of this menace in the whole of Mindanao and start the rehabilitation plan of all the affected areas so that we may achieve normalcy and ultimately economic development and inclusive growth in the region,” Zubiri said.

He cited the magistrates “who showed judicial probity, independence and progressive thinking in their exercise of judicial review powers.”

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said with the ruling, Duterte now has a free hand “to use all necessary means to crush the Maute terrorists, once and for all.”

“Now that the SC has spoken, it is time to set aside politics and work together in reclaiming Marawi and bringing the city back to its glory,” Gatchalian said.

Sen. Joel Villanueva also welcomed the ruling but stressed the need to consider the other issues raised in the decision, particularly the scope of the martial law declaration.

Sen. Richard Gordon said the benefits of the SC ruling would be truly felt after the elimination of the Maute group. “The winner must always be the people,” Gordon said.

He said it is time for the government to focus on “fixing the situation” in Marawi City and the rest of Mindanao.

“Now that the President has the support of the court and Congress, he should use that support, not to be overconfident, but certainly because we believe that there is a situation occurring in the country that must be solved,” Gordon said.

Sen. Sonny Angara said he went around Mindanao last week and talked with some evacuees, who told him they felt safe under martial law.

“I think the 1987 Constitution has enough safeguards to protect the people from possible abuses,” Angara said.

“We call on our government to fast-track all efforts to bring Marawi back to its feet. This crisis has resulted in human cost that cannot be calculated in pesos and we must ensure that normalcy in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Mindanao will be restored,” he said.

Senators also believe the favorable SC ruling would make it less difficult for Duterte to convince Congress to extend martial law beyond July 22.

Pimentel stressed the ruling only justified the declaration but not any extension of martial law, which he said was “possible.”

Gordon warned any unnecessary deadline to end martial law may do more harm than good, even as he believes that lawmakers will support an extension.

“Congress saw it, they called it, they approved it and because there’s a lot of people suffering there right now, it is in the interest of the country that we keep it there, we keep the fighting there and we must finish it there so it won’t spread,” he said. “I’m not confident that it will end soon.”

Villanueva stressed there are several issues that need to be clarified before martial law is expanded or extended.

“We have to ask what it has accomplished relative to the problem of terrorism in Mindanao,” he said.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, said that while he respects the ruling of the Supreme Court, he wanted Malacañang to consider the opinions of the three justices about limiting the scope of martial law to Marawi City.

House allies of President Duterte commended the Supreme Court for upholding the 60-day martial law.

House Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu, Reps. Karlo Alexei Nograles (Davao), Gus Tambunting (Parañaque), Alfred Vargas (Quezon City), Harry Roque (Kabayan), Joel Mayo Almario (Davao Oriental) and Aniceto Bertiz III (ACTS-OFW) all welcomed the ruling.

“It’s a very convincing and definitive ruling, not to mention an overwhelming one. We thank our esteemed magistrates for acknowledging the President’s powers, and that of Congress as well, being an independent and co-equal branch,” Abu said.

“This leaves no doubt that the decision of the President was correct and he should be commended for his swift and decisive action,” Nograles, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, said.

“The ruling is good for the country. It avoids a constitutional crisis. And it recognizes that the problem in Mindanao is complex, the solution to which is something that the judiciary must not impede the executive from achieving,” Tambuting maintained.

“I support the SC’s exercise of judicial restraint in its validation of Proclamation 216. I’m happy that it respected and acknowledged the information that is readily available to the executive, which the high tribunal does not have access to,” Roque stressed.

For his part, Almario said the SC verdict was “an expected decision.”

“The peace and order situation when martial law was declared called for it, and it squarely satisfied the conditions set forth by the 1987 Constitution,” he said.

“The timely declaration of martial law has once again showed the wisdom and determination of the President to curb extremism and lawlessness which will not only affect Maranaos but all Filipinos,” Bertiz emphasized. – With Paolo Romero, Marvin Sy, Helen Flores, Delon Porcalla, Christina Mendez

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