The Supreme Court (SC) voted to upheld the constitutionality of the third re-extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2019.
On Tuesday, February 19, the justices voted 9-4 to dismiss four petitions filed by groups of Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman, Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate, Constitution framer Christian Monsod, and Lumad teachers and students from Mindanao, according to SC Public Information Office (PIO) Chief Brian Keith Hosaka.
Those who voted to junk the petitions are Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin and Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta, Mariano del Castillo, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Andres Reyes, Jr., Alexander Gesmundo, Jose Reyes, Jr., Ramon Paul Hernando, and Rosmari Carandang.
Meanwhile, those who voted to grant the petitions are Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, and Benjamin Caguioa.
As of writing, the SC has not yet released a copy of its decision.
Voting 235-28-1, the 17th Congress in December 2018 approved President Rodrigo Duterte’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2019. It also extended the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the region until the same period.
With this decision of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Malacañang earlier said the government expects to “achieve substantial progress in addressing the persisting rebellion in Mindanao, as well as promoting the overall security and peace and order situation in the island.”
It was in May 2017 when the President put the entire Mindanao under martial law amid clashes between government troops and the Islamic State (ISIS)-inspired Maute group, the group that laid siege on Marawi City on May 23 of that year.
The Congress first made the first extension when it approved Duterte’s request to make the martial law declaration last until the end of 2017. The lawmakers then voted anew in December 2017 to extend the military rule in Mindanao until the end of 2018.