SC consolidates petitions vs. ML extension; 4th appeal filed

By , on January 14, 2018

Supreme Court of the Philippines (Photo: Philippine News Agency)
Supreme Court of the Philippines (Photo: Philippine News Agency)

MANILA — The Supreme Court (SC) said Friday the petitions seeking to nullify the full-year extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao will be included in the oral arguments set on January 16-17.

This was confirmed by the Supreme Court Public Information Office, following the filing of the third petition against the extension of martial rule by former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann “Etta” Rosales.

Echoing the arguments of the two other petitioners, Rosales said there was no longer factual basis to extend martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao since President Rodrigo Duterte already declared last October that Marawi City — the center of skirmishes between government troops and Islamic State-inspired Maute group — has been liberated.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) is poised to represent the respondents led by President Rodrigo Duterte in the hearings.

The High Court ordered the OSG to submit its comment to the second and third petition not later than 5 p.m. on Jan. 13 with the comment to be personally served on counsel for the petitioners.

The parties were directed to submit their respective memorandum not later than 5 p.m. on January 20.

Both the minority bloc from Congress led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, as well as human rights advocates and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) have earlier maintained that there is no need to extend martial law, especially that the government declared Marawi free from the clutches of IS-inspired groups.

The first petition was filed on Dec. 27 by opposition lawmakers led by Lagman, who asked the high court to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) or a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the implementation of the challenged re-extension pending adjudication of their petition.

The other petitioners are Representatives Tomasito Villarin, Edgar Erice, Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr., Gary Alejano, and Emmanuel Billones.

The second petition filed on Monday (Jan. 8) by the NUPL and House lawmakers Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna), Emmie de Jesus (Gabriela), Arlene Brosas (Gabriela), Ariel Casilao (Anakpawis), Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers), and Sarah Elago (Kabataan) said the extension would give way to “alarmingly intensified and increased human rights violations” allegedly aimed at “quelling legitimate redress of grievances against the government”.

They said martial law was extended despite government admission that the Marawi siege was over in October last year.

4th petition filed

Meanwhile, a fourth petition was filed by a group led by former Commission on Elections chairman Christian Monsod on Friday afternoon asking the SC to issue a temporary restraining order to halt the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

In their 40-page petition, the group asked the SC to compel the respondents to present proof on the factual basis for the extension of Martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

Monsod was joined by Dinagat Islands Rep. Arlene “Kaka” Bag-Ao, Rey Paolo Santiago, Nolasco Ritz Lee Santos III, Marie Hazel Lavitoria, Nicolene Arcaina and Jose Ryan Pelongco.

Named respondents in the fourth petition were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Rey Guerrero, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.