Lagman is one of the martial law oppositors who filed a petition to dismiss martial law declared by President Rodrigo Duterte in Mindanao because of terrorism caused by the Maute group aided by the Isnilon Hapilon, leader of the Abu Sayyaf.
The Albay rep started off with a diplomatic introduction saying they [the petitioners] are willing to respect the majority decision of the high court. However, he said that the majority who voted in agreement to upholding martial law in Mindanao may have made an error.
He blamed the declaration of martial law to be the cause of body count increase in deaths and displacement of civilians since the siege started in May 23, 2017, adding that military should not be considered an appropriate approach to solve the attacks of the militants.
Even before the martial law was declared, Lagman said that the military has everything under control of the situation, even admitting to have initiated the siege when they attempted to arrest Isnilon Hapilon.
He said that raising ISIS flags in Marawi does not indicate the need to declare martial especially when the ISIS itself did not admitted of their plans to turn Mindanao as an ISIS caliphate.
Although petitioners are given the chance to file a 'rematch', Lagman said that it may not be effective if the Justices will not change their stance in favoring President Duterte.
Read his message below:
"The petitioners (opposition Congressmen) in G.R. No. 231658 are prepared to respect the majority decision of the divided Supreme Court upholding the declaration of martial law in Mindanao with a strong reservation or caveat that the majority could be in error.
"The ongoing armed confrontation, military air strikes and land offensives and the escalating deaths, destruction and displacement of civilians after 23 May 2017 are the aftermath or result of the martial law declaration which should not be considered as the appropriate actual basis for such controverted declaration and suspension.
"In fact, authoritative military officials had consistently reported that hours before and contemporaneous to the declaration of martial law, the Marawi situation was under control, the military was on top of the situation and subsequently admitted that it was the military who precipitated and initiated the armed confrontation by attempting to arrest or capture Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers, which offensive was resisted by the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups.
"This culpable purpose is not evinced by the mere raising of IS flags which has been done previously by the terrorists as cheap propaganda to support their claim that they are ISIS-inspired.
"Neither is criminal objective evidenced by unsubstantiated claims of establishing a wilayah in Marawi or Mindanao as part of the ISIS caliphate, which is not even reliably confirmed by ISIS itself.
"While filing a motion for reconsideration is an option for the petitioners, a 'rematch' with the 11 justices may be an exercise in futility, as they may not be disposed to change their 'stance' in favor of President Duterte."
Lagman also accused the SC for giving too 'much leeway and flexibility’ in exercising his powers excessively. He also said that the high court closed its doors to have a deeper analyzation of the so-called sufficient factual basis of the President to have martial law declared in Mindanao.
"This safeguard was denigrated by the majority decision which effectively deferred to the discretion of the President and gave him ‘much leeway and flexibility’ to declare martial law because it is he who has the arsenal of intelligence information to warrant such declaration," Lagman said.
"This disquisition virtually closes the door for the Supreme Court to fully review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the President’s exercise of extreme emergency powers," he added.
The high court voted 11-3-1, where eleven are in favor of martial while three (Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa) wants the military rule to be confined within Marawi City. Meanwhile, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen is the only one who opposed.
Oppositors from the House of Representatives lamented on the decision of the highest court in the Philippines to uphold military rule of President Duterte in Mindano. They addressed the decision to be an example of "creeping authoritarian rule."
The independent minority bloc, referred to as 'Magnificent 7', cried over the magistrates' judgement dismissing their petition against President’s Proclamation No. 216.
Source: PinoyThinking, INQ