SolGen asks SC to junk 3 petitions vs martial law

By on June 19, 2017


Solicitor General Jose C. Calida. (PNA photo)
Solicitor General Jose C. Calida. (PNA photo)

MANILA — Solicitor General Jose Calida asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the three consolidated petitions challenging the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation of martial law in Mindanao.

The Office of the Solicitor General on Monday filed its 84-page memorandum on the three separate Petitions questioning the factual basis of Proclamation No. 216.

Calida asked the high court to allow President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to perform his constitutional mandate of protecting the people.

Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216, on May 23, 2017 declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao. This was a result of the attack of the Maute group in Marawi City, which is still ongoing and is subject to military operations.

“The Constitution declares in no uncertain terms that the prime duty of the government is to protect the people. In faithful compliance with this duty, President Duterte saw it fit to exercise his constitutional power to declare martial law,” Calida said.

“While it is easy to brush aside the armed attacks in Marawi City and elsewhere in Mindanao as common crimes bereft of any political motive or color, these attacks are atypical of previous terrorist activities in Mindanao,” Calida explained.

According to Calida, the magnitude and scope of the rebellion, and how it has endangered public safety in the entire Mindanao region, validates the need for the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

“As the survival of the State hangs in the balance, I implore the Honorable Supreme Court to sustain the constitutionality of Proclamation No. 216, and allow the President to perform his constitutional mandate of protecting the people,” Calida said.

The three consolidated petitions were filed by opposition lawmakers led by Albay Representative EdcelLagman, local Mindanao leaders led by Lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat and a group of women from Marawi led by Norkaya Mohamad.

The petitioners claimed that the declaration was baseless as there was no rebellion or invasion committed in the ongoing crisis because it was triggered by a military operation against Isnilon Hapilon who was allegedly designated as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) emir in southeast Asia.

In their separate memorandum, the petitioners asked SC to nullifies and voids for lack of sufficient factual basis Proclamation No. 216 dated May 23 2017, which declared a state of martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeascorpus in the whole of Mindanao.

Last Thursday, the Supreme Court ended the three-day oral arguments on the three consolidated petitions challenging the constitutionality of Duterte’s proclamation of martial law in Mindanao.

The SC is set to submit the case for resolution on or before July 5.

Meanwhile, two other petitions were filed by separate groups led by former Senators Rene Saguisag and Wigberto Tañada both seeking issuance of a mandamus that would compel Senate and the House of Representatives to convene jointly to review the declaration.

The SC has consolidated the cases and ordered the respondents to filed a comment on the two mandamus petitions.

“Require(d) the respondent to comment on the petition within (a) non-extendible period of ten days from notice hereof,” read the two-page order dated June 13 released by SC Public Information recently.

Named as respondents are Senate President Aquilino “Koko” L. Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, both of whom are to be represented by the Office of the Solicitor-General (OSG).

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216, on May 23 declaring a state of martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao. This was a result of the attack of the Maute group in Marawi City, which is still ongoing and is subject to military operations.

On May 29, the Senate, voting 17-5, filed Resolution 388 “not to revoke the declaration at this time” while the House of Representatives issued its support to President Duterte’s declaration on May 31.