Etta Rosales and House Minority Bloc Files petition Against Martial Law Declaration in Mindanao

Minority of the House of Representatives have joined forces in filing a petition in the Supreme Court against President Rodrigo Duterte's martial law declaration in all of Mindanao.

photo va

Headed by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman, lawmakers from the opposition condemned the martial law declaration claiming that it lacks sufficient factual basis.

Edcel Lagman along with other representatives, Tomasito Villarin, Gary Alejano, Emmanuel Billones, Teddy Baguilat Jr. and Edgar Erice, requested that the proclamation be nullified.

Filed under G.R No. 231658, the petition states the facts supporting the declaration "turned out to be mostly inaccurate." Aside from that, it also claims that the declaration is "flawed" because it did not have recommendation from cabinet officials, including the Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Citing the Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, martial law can only be declared only of there's a "case of invasion or rebellion, when public safety requires it."

"There is no revolution 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," stated the minority lawmakers.

"Consequently, the alleged 'siege' of Marawi City was actually an armed resistance by the Maute Group to shield Hapilon from capture, not to overrun Marawi and remove its allegiance from the Republic," stated in the petition.

The military forces admitted that they initiated the conflict and that their operation to capture Abu Sayyaf subleader Isnilon Hapilon triggered the armed confrontation which then led to multiple clashes between the government forces and ISIS-linked local terrorist group.

Moreover, the petitioners claimed that the Congress refused to hold a joint session to discuss the imposition of martial law failing to meet necessary requirements.

"Sa congress, hindi nila sinunod iyong joint session mandate. so in a way. incomplete ang ginagawa sa declaration ng martial law," Villarin stated.

Meanwhile, Solicitor General Jose Calida defended the president's proclamation. He said the petitioners are "rabble-rousers" for keeping on with their denial the insurgencies in Mindanao.

"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, is like saying that the sun does not rise from the east. This is a symptom of psychosis since they are detached from reality," Calida said.

"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," he said, discrediting the claims of the petitioners that the president acted without cabinet recommendation.

Akbayan Party-list Rep. Tom Villarin stated that the petition will be filed on Monday in order for the SC can include it in the en banc session the next day.

Below is a list of "mostly inaccurate, simulated, false and hyperbolic" claims about the declaration of martial law in Mindanao written in the petition.

  • 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 Landbank of the Philippines said that its branch in Marawi City was not ransacked by the terrorists, contradicting the President’s Report.
  • The Senator Ninoy Aquino College Foundation was intact as of May 24 and Marawi City Schools Division Assistant Superintendent Ana Alonto said that the Marawi Central Elementary Pilot School was not burned by the terrorists, thus belying the President’s Report.
  • The Police Chief of Malabang in Lanao del Sur, Senior Inspector Romeo Enriquez, is alive and was not beheaded by the terrorists, contrary to the claim of President Duterte upon his arrival from Russia on May 24.
  • Contradicting Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s press briefing in Moscow on May 23, the Armed Forces of the Philippines denied that the Marawi City Hall was occupied and Mindanao State University (MSU) Vice President for academic affairs Alma Berowa assured that MSU has not been occupied.

Source:  CNN; philstar