Displaying items by tag: martial law

SC told: This is not Marcos’ martial law

By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star)


Solicitor General Jose Calida gave Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno this assurance when she insisted on the comparison during the continuation of oral arguments yesterday at the Supreme Court on Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao. File



MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte is not Ferdinand Marcos.

Solicitor General Jose Calida gave Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno this assurance when she insisted on the comparison during the continuation of oral arguments yesterday at the Supreme Court on Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

“President Duterte likewise ordered (that) the constitutional rights of the Filipino people shall be respected and protected at all times,” Calida said, as he also downplayed alleged human rights abuses raised by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines’ Lanao del Sur chapter.

“President Duterte’s order of martial law is markedly different from that issued by president Marcos,” Calida said, referring to the late dictator who ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986.

Enforced disappearances, tortures, killings and other forms of human rights abuses marked Marcos’ regime after he declared martial law on Sept. 21, 1972.

In defending Duterte’s martial law, Calida also said that the attack of Maute militants in Marawi City was not just an act of terrorism, but a clear case of rebellion and part of a bigger plot to make Mindanao part of an Islamic State (IS) caliphate.

“The crisis in Marawi is not an isolated incident... This is not only a display of Maute’s force but a siege of power,” Calida told the high court.

“The rebels seized Marawi not just with the intention of striking fear. They wanted to establish a caliphate and dismember Marawi,” Calida pointed out, presenting to the justices an IS flag recovered by the military from the rebels.

Calida argued that elements of rebellion – raising arms against the government and culpable purpose of removing allegiance from the government – were present in the crisis that required the President to use his power of declaring martial law under Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution.

Calida also noted that when Duterte saw the gravity of rebellion, he had to act swiftly and decisively to save Marawi.

“Were it not for the President’s swift action, the rebels would’ve established a stronghold in the heart of Mindanao,” Calida pointed out.

During interpellation, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio asked Calida why the declaration covered the entire Mindanao when there was no rebellion in other provinces.

The solicitor general cited “linkages” between the Maute group and other rebel groups in the region, like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and Abu Sayyaf.

“The seeds of rebellion were already planted in different parts of Mindanao. Public safety requires the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus not just in Marawi but also in the entire Mindanao,” he explained.

Sereno asked Calida why there was a need to declare martial law when the President already had the power to call out the military to stop the siege.

Calida explained that the President saw the calling-out power as a milder response and wanted a stronger action to stop the rebellion.

“That’s the judgment call of the President; he alone was vested with such power,” he stressed, basing his statement on the Constitution.


Calida likewise raised technical issues on the three consolidated petitions filed by opposition lawmakers led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, local Mindanao leaders led by lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat and a group of women from Marawi led by Norkaya Mohamad, seeking to strike down Proclamation No. 216.

He said the petitions have formal defects, citing their failure to specify the remedy being invoked for the SC to review the factual bases of the martial law proclamation.

The solicitor general argued that petitioners cannot just invoke the martial law provisions in the Constitution and should have instead filed petition for review under the Rules of Court.

“The discretion to proclaim martial law can only be questioned if the President acted with grave abuse of discretion. The burden on the petitioners is to show that the declaration is bereft of merit and the petitioners miserably (had) failed to overcome this onus,” he alleged.

Political issue

The martial law proclamation being a political issue was also raised during the hearing.

During interpellation, Associate Justice Noel Tijam asked Lagman if he voted for Duterte in last year’s election.

The opposition lawmaker refused to answer and invoked the sanctity of his vote, but admitted that he does not trust Duterte to use the martial law power reasonably and legally.

Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro cited the possibility that the actions of the Maute group may have political motives.

“We are living in modern times. We cannot use the standard used many, many years ago… Terrorism now is being used to achieve a political objective,” she explained.

“I don’t think terrorists are sowing terror just for the sake of sowing terror. It could be that they are doing these to overthrow the duly constituted government.”

With the existence of that objective, De Castro said the Marawi attacks would fall under rebellion.

The three-day oral arguments continue today when Calida returns to the podium for more interpellation from the justices.

The SC had also required Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Eduardo Año and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to appear today for clarification on the factual basis of the martial law proclamation, which is the main issue raised by the petitioners.

‘Splitting hairs’

Meanwhile, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III scoffed at the arguments presented by the petitioners against Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao before the SC.

He said the petitioners were apparently splitting hairs in their arguments, particularly that there is no rebellion, but terrorism, in Marawi City.

Article VII, Section 1 of the Constitution states that the President may declare martial law in case of invasion or rebellion.

“Terrorism is not rebellion. That is correct. But why are they even discussing that?” Pimentel said.

“The martial law proclamation says that there is actual rebellion. So, what is their point in wasting time about terrorism?” he said.

Pimentel and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez were among the respondents named in the petitions asking the SC to compel Congress to hold a joint session to deliberate on Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao last May 23.

Pimentel expressed confidence the SC will respect Congress’ decision not to convene in joint session.

No ML extension to Visayas

Contrary to his previous pronouncements, Duterte will not extend martial law to the Visayas region amid the ongoing firefight between government troops and the terrorist group Maute in Marawi City.

Tourism assistant secretary and spokesman Ricky Alegre yesterday said in a press conference that Duterte told them last Friday that he would not extend martial law to the Visayas, which he considered “a major pronouncement, especially for tourism.”

“We’re very happy and we thank President Duterte that last Friday, he said, ‘We’re not going to extend martial law to Visayas.’ That is a major pronouncement,” Alegre said during the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay in Malate.

Alegre said that Duterte’s pronouncement would help reboot the tourism industry in Bohol, Cebu, Palawan and Boracay after some tourists had cancelled trips to the Philippines because of the alleged presence of the Abu Sayyaf.

Some foreign travelers have also cancelled their trips to the Philippines, particularly Mindanao, after Duterte declared martial law in the region. – With Paolo Romero, Robertzon Ramirez, Janie Cameron


Gov’t to arrest people inciting rebellion through Internet

Sec. Rodolfo A. Salalima (Manny Llanes / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)



by Genalyn D. Kabiling

The government is ready to arrest people allegedly inciting rebellion through the Internet in connection to the Islamic State-linked attack in Marawi City.

The suspects had been tracked down by the government and will soon be apprehended for “cyber sedition,” according to Secretary Rodolfo Salalima of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

“May huhulihin na – cyber sedition. We are not going to name the persons. We were able to track down more than one last (Monday) night” Salalima said in a Palace press briefing.

Salalima admitted that the DICT is “involved” in government efforts to run after groups using the Internet to spread terrorist propaganda and incite rebellion but kept a tight lid on “confidential” information.

“To the extent they commit cyber crimes, the DICT takes over,” he said.

“You do sedition, you incite people via cyber or via Internet, I call that cyber rebellion, there is cyber sedition. But in rebellion, there must be a taking up of arms so pag sa online, it would amount to cyber sedition,” he added.

The Armed Forces earlier asked Facebook Philippines to close down 63 accounts allegedly being used by Maute group and its sympathizers to spread terrorist propaganda amid the battle in Marawi City. These groups supposedly spread misinformation to undermine government operations in the fight against local terrorists.

The government has promised to bring the Marawi conflict to a swift conclusion following the proclamation of martial law in Mindanao. To date, 202 militants, 58 government troops, and 26 civilians had been killed in the fighting.


Calida: Supreme Court should prevail on martial law

But for Solicitor General Jose Calida, Congress only has to convene in a joint session if it will revoke President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration

Lian Buan

MARTIAL LAW. Solicitor General Jose Calida answers questions on martial law during the celebration of the 116th anniversary of the Office of the Solicitor General in Pasay City on June 8, 2017. Photo by Lian Buan/Rappler



MANILA, Philippines – Solicitor General Jose Calida said on Thursday, June 8, that the Supreme Court (SC) should prevail on the issue of martial law, as it prepares to tackle 3 petitions regarding the declaration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

"If there's an interpretation of the law, it is the Supreme Court that will prevail but also there are certain prerogatives of the other branches of government," Calida said on Thursday during the 116th anniversary celebration of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in Pasay City.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said the 17th Congress would ignore any SC ruling on martial law, saying the legislative branch cannot be dictated upon.

Responding to Alvarez's remarks, Calida said: "There are 3 branches of the government – the executive, the legislative, and the judiciary. In each sphere they have this political prerogative. Like in the case of the President, nobody can tell him [not to] impose martial law."

As the government's top lawyer, Calida was asked to come up with a legal scenario if the magistrates' ruling clashes with the lawmakers' stand.

"We will have to see. I'm not a prophet, that's why I cannot tell you what will happen in the future," the Solicitor General said.

But he acknowledged that a constitutional crisis is likely.

Alvarez had been adamant about ignoring the SC, saying: "O, mag-issue ng direktiba ang Supreme Court telling Congress, dictating Congress na, 'Uy, mag-convene kayo ng joint session.' Punitin ko 'yan."

(If the Supreme Court issues an order telling Congress to convene in a joint session, I'll rip up that order.)

'No need to convene now'

For Calida, Congress only has to convene in a joint session if it will revoke martial law.

"There's no need right now, it's already fait accompli. The sense of Congress is that it's already supporting the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus," the Solicitor General said.

Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution states that: "The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President."

The Senate and the House of Representatives, in separate resolutions, earlier expressed their support for Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

SC petitions

Two petitions, one filed by the group of detained Senator Leila de Lima and the other by the group of former senator Wigberto Tañada, have been filed before the SC, seeking to compel Congress to convene. Both petitions cite the Constitution as being clear that the Senate and the House must hold a joint session.

SC Spokesperson Theodore Te said on Thursday that the two petitions seeking to make Congress convene will likely be consolidated.

There is also a petition seeking to nullify Duterte's declaration, filed by opposition lawmakers led by Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman. The SC set 3 straight days of oral arguments for that petition beginning June 13.

Calida said he is prepared to defend the martial law declaration, adding that it is clear the situation in Marawi City is invasion and rebellion, and therefore clear constitutional basis to declare martial law.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, in an earlier interview, warned of a constitutional crisis if there is a clash among the co-equal branches of government.

As lawyer and political analyst Tony La Viña explained, co-equal branches of government cannot tell each other what to do. The SC can declare that something is unconstitutional, but when the other branches "insist on doing something that's unconstitutional," that's when the problem begins. (READ: Duterte cannot ignore SC, Congress on martial law – senators) – Rappler.com

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