SC merges last 2 petitions vs martial law

MANILA-- The Supreme Court (SC) said that the last two filed petitions to challenge the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte's proclamation of martial law in Mindanao will be included in oral arguments set on June 13 to 15.

In a separate four-page order dated June 10, 2017 signed by SC Clerk of Court Felipa B. Anama, the high court ordered to consolidate the separate petition filed by local Mindanao leaders namely Lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat and Women from Marawi led by Norkaya S. Mohamad with the first petition filed by opposition lawmakers led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman asked the SC to nullify the martial law declaration.

Named respondents to the petition were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary and Martial Law Administrator Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief of Staff and Martial Law Implementor Eduardo AAo.

The high court gave respondents through the Office of Solicitor General on or before noon on June 12 to submit their consolidated comment.

The petitioner is also required to attend the preliminary conference on the case also on June 12 as the case is further set for oral arguments on June 13, 14, 15 at 10 a.m.

Last Thursday, the SC consolidated the two mandamus petitions asking the high court to order the Senate and the House of Representatives to convene in joint session and vote jointly on President Duterte's Proclamation 216 declaring martial law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

The first petition was filed by former senator Rene Saguisag former party-list lawmaker Loretta Ann Rosales, detained Senator Leila De Lima, former PhilHealth Director Alexander Padilla and law professor Rene Gorospe on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iniguez, Bishop Broderick Pabillo, Bishop Antonio Tobias former senator Wigberto Tanada, Adelaida Ygrubay, prioress of St. Scholastica's Priory Missionnary Benedictine Sisters, Shamah Bulangis of Siliman University and Cassandra Deluria of the University of the Philippines-Diliman filed the second petition on Wednesday.

The mandamus petitions named Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as respondents.

SC spokesman Theodore Te said that petition filed by opposition lawmakers led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman asked the SC to nullify the martial law declaration is different from the mandamus petition which were filed after the Court's En Banc session last Tuesday.

Solicitor General Jose C. Calida said that he is ready to defend Proclamation No. 216 and he is confident that the government will win.

Calida made the statement in response to the filing of opposition lawmakers a petition before the Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte's proclamation of martial law in Mindanao.

Who are these rabble-rousers to say that there is no factual basis for the declaration of martial law? Calida said in a statement.

Their denial that there is an ongoing rebellion by the combined forces of the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf, heightened by the participation of foreign jihadists to make Mindanao a caliphate of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), is like saying that the sun does not rise from the east. This is a symptom of psychosis since they are detached from reality, he noted.

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.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it state that the President's declaration of martial law needs the recommendation or concurrence of the Defense Secretary, or any cabinet official, Calida said, refuting the petitioners' argument that Duterte acted alone in declaring martial law without the benefit of a recommendation from his cabinet.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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