MANILA— The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) led by national president Rosario Setias-Reyes on Wednesday supported the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to place Mindanao under martial law to neutralize militants linked to attacks carried out by the Maute terror group in Marawi City.
“In view of what has happened in Marawi City, the imminent danger of the escalations spread of the hostilities to other parts of Mindanao, and the existence of other terrorist groups operating in Mindanao that can take advantage of the unrest and cause criminal acts and disorder, the national leadership of the IBP sees no reason to question the declaration at this time,” the IBP said in a statement.
The national organization of lawyers said the proclamation of martial law is within the powers of the President under the 1987 Constitution and appears to have valid basis.
The IBP assured the public that the Constitution provides safeguards to make sure that martial law “will not result to any diminution of their rights and that civil and judicial authorities will continue to function except in places where the continuation of such functions has been rendered difficult.”
The IBP cited the order of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno on Wednesday for courts in Mindanao to remain open despite the existing martial law.
“The IBP support all legal means to end this unrest in Mindanao and encourage the achievement of peace through lawful means,” the statement stressed.
The IBP called on the Armed Forces and the government “to wield the power with caution and regard for the rule of law” as it vowed to be vigilant in defending the Constitution
Late on Tuesday, President Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao due to attacks carried out by the Maute terror group in Marawi City.
“In order to suppress lawless violence and rebellion and for public safety it is necessary to declare martial law in the entire island of Mindanao, including Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi for a period of 60 days,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a press conference in Moscow, Russia.