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Philippine lawmakers ask top court to nullify martial law

07 June 2017

The petitioners said the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is flawed because admittedly Duterte acted alone, without any recommendation from or consultation with the ranking defense and military authorities, some of whom formed part of his official entourage in Russian Federation.

In seeking a joint session, the petitioners cited that the 1987 Constitution "is replete with built-in safeguards as a direct effect of the abuses that the country and its democratic institutions had to endure under Martial Law".

The committee received a briefing by the different department heads of the executive branch including Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and other Cabinet officials.

Under Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution, the President may declare martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus only "in case of invasion or rebellion, when public safety requires it".

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said on Saturday that Marawi City would be fully liberated within three days, but on Monday officials were more circumspect on the timing and gave conflicting estimates of how many combatants were holding out.

Earlier, the House of Representatives adopted the House Resolution (HR) 1050 supporting President Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Such failure prompted them to elevate the issue to the SC, which under the Constitution has the power to review the "sufficiency of the factual basis" of the declaration of martial and the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus, the petitioners said.

Considering the network and alliance-building activities among terrorist groups, local criminals, and lawless armed men, the siege of Marawi City is a vital cog in attaining their long-standing goal: "absolute control over the entirety of Mindanao", the report read.

All the petitioners except Saguisag, personally went to the SC in Manila to file the writ of mandamus or the petition to compel the court or any judicial body to perform a duty.

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But the petitioners said even the military admitted the conflict in Marawi was precipitated by troops' operation to neutralize or capture Isnilon Hapilon, a high-profile militant commander.

"1. Contrary to the President's Report, the Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC) was not overrun by the Maute Group according to Dr. Amer Saber, APMC's Medical Director, and the medical facility remains operational".

The declaration is set to expire in July, but may be extended if Congress approves.

The police chief of Malabang in Lanao del Sur, Senior Insp.

A view of the Maute group stronghold with an ISIS flag in Marawi City in southern Philippines May 29, 2017. "This is a symptom of psychosis since they are detached from reality", he said.

Senators Francis Escudero said he does not agree with the opposition because be he believes there is enough basis to place Mindanao under military rule.

Solicitor General Jose Calida however said that he is ready to defend the President's declaration of martial law. "Many of our colleagues in the Senate and the House agreed with the declaration of martial law... it is rebellion under the Constitution".

Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, whose father placed the country under martial law from 1972 to 1981, expressed support for Duterte's declaration of martial rule.

A presidential spokesman said 120 militants have died in the battle, along with 38 government forces.

Philippine lawmakers ask top court to nullify martial law