Opposition solons decry SC ruling on Mindanao martial law extension
Opposition lawmakers on Tuesday denounced the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) affirming the extension of martial law in Mindanao, calling it an “error” and a “tragic day for human rights.”
“The majority of the Supreme Court justices can be supreme even in their error,” Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a statement.
Lagman, the lead petitioner in the first petition challenging the year-long extension of martial rule in the southern region, also feared that the SC verdict would “embolden President Rodrigo Duterte in flouting the rule of law.”
“When the majority of the justices of the Supreme Court fall in cadence with the President and the Congress in violating the Constitution, then the country is abandoned in the quagmire of tripartite derogation of the people’s civil liberties,” he said.
“The Supreme Court verdict will embolden President Rodrigo Duterte in flouting the rule of law because he can seek refuge behind the robes of majority of the Supreme Court justices,” he added.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate also condemned the SC, saying it “failed to see the suffering of Mindanaons who are victims of the military abuses due to martial law.”
“This is a tragic day for the cause of human rights. The Supreme Court failed to see the suffering of Mindanaons who are victims of the military abuses due to Martial law,” said the progressive solon.
“In fact we have received reports of military bombings and shelling of Lumad communities in Surigao del Sur,” he added.
The Davao-based solon said lumad residents reported loud explosions near Sitio Magkahunao, Brgy. Buhisan, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, while gunfires were also heard since January 13. Drones, he said, were also spotted on the evening of January 13 and again at dawn of January 16.
Zarate added that they learned that “since January 8, the Army’s 75th Infantry Battalion has intensified its military operations in the area, affecting nine lumad schools of TRIFPSS and ALCADEV Inc. and 14 other lumad communities.”
“We strongly condemn these violations of our people’s rights and these must be stopped. With the SC decision, the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) would be further emboldened to commit atrocities against Lumads and other Mindanaons. We must continue to struggle to defend our rights,” he said.
Lagman reiterated that that extension of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus for one more year in Mindanao has “no sufficient factual anchorage” after the AFP had already decimated the leadership and membership of the Maute-Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups in Mindanao. /je
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