Philippine lawmakers ask top court to nullify martial law

Supreme Court

On Monday, six opposition lawmakers challenged the move in a petition to the Supreme Court.

"In the absence of any recommendation from the defense and military authorities and without prior consultation with them, the President acted on his own perception and consequently the Proclamation lacks sufficient factual basis as it is bereft of official advice, counsel and coordination", the petition further reads.

The petitioners aside from Lagman are Teddy Baguilat Jr.

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. The declaration lasts through mid-July.

"I voted not to revoke martial law because I fully believe and understand there is sufficient basis for its declaration".

The SC is expected to tackle the petition today as it resumes full court sessions after a month-long decision writing period.

After the Marawi siege began Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, an island the size of South Korea with a population of 22 million.

In the same proclamation, Duterte also suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the region.

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. They said the events in Marawi City did not constitute an invasion or rebellion.

"1. There is no rebellion or invasion where the public safety requires the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Marawi City or elsewhere in Mindanao".

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.

Hapilon was with members of the Maute at the start of the clashes.

Fighting had erupted on May 23 after a bungled raid aimed at capturing Isnilon Hapilon, whom Islamic State proclaimed as its "emir" of Southeast Asia previous year after he pledged allegiance to the group.

The constitution allows martial law to be imposed only in the event of invasion or rebellion.

The Maute group is named after founders and leaders Abdullah and Omar Maute.

The gunman had also collected ammunition and provisions from the city after ransacking Marawi's jail and armouries, said presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella who was quoted in The Philippine Inquirer.

The Sen. Ninoy Aquino College Foundation was intact as of 24 May.*The Marawi Central Elementary Pilot School was not burned by the Maute, according to Ana Alonto, assistant superintendent of the Marawi City Schools Division.

The police chief of Malabang in Lanao del Sur, Senior Insp. Romeo Enriquez, is alive and was not beheaded by the Maute, contrary to Duterte's claim upon his arrival from Russian Federation on May 24.

While he acknowledged the provision in Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution that gives the SC 30 days within which to decide on a petition questioning the factual basis for martial declaration, Aguirre said the Court would still have to defer to the position of the President and Congress. The group took over a hospital and established checkpoints throughout the city. "This is a symptom of psychosis since they are detached from reality", he said.

"5. The proffered rebellion and/or invasion is at most a threat akin to "imminent danger" which has been obliterated from the 1987 Constitution as an alternative ground for the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus".

He agreed with Escudero there is enough basis for the declaration.

However Duterte vowed five days after declaring martial law he would ignore the Supreme Court on the issue, and only listen to the police and military.

Marcos said Duterte needs all the support he could get in stopping terrorism.

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