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New petition filed vs 3rd extension of martial law in Mindanao

/ 05:41 PM January 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Another petition has been filed with the Supreme Court seeking to declare the third martial law extension in Mindanao as unconstitutional.

The petitioners, led by former Commission on Elections chairman Christian Monsod, said the current situation in the south does not require the necessity of another martial rule and the suspension of writ of habeas corpus.

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Martial law is not about military operations “but about a sword of a takeover by the military of civilian functions,” the petitioners said.

“Is there any area in Mindanao where civilian authority is not functioning?” they asked.

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“The factual situation present in Mindanao, which is the basis for the president to intimate the extension for martial law; and the Congress to approve does not show that courts or the branches of civilian government are unable to carry out its functions,” the petitioners added.

They also urged the high court to stay true to its mandate under Section 18, Article 7 of the Constitution “to be proactive and to independently determine the factual basis of the proclamation or extension of the declaration of a martial law.”

They said that an “independent inquiry, investigation, scrutiny and judgment” should be conducted, and decision must not just rely on a report provided by the executive branch.

“The Constitution calls upon the sufficiency of the factual circumstance as weighed by the court of law and not based on whether the President was satisfied with his or her findings of the circumstances to declare martial law,” the petition read.

“…[The] power to review the proclamation or extension of martial law. The powers of the judiciary to review is “actually a product of our experience during martial law,” they added.

Aside from Monsod, petitioners include Ray Paolo J. Santiago, Executive Director of the Ateneo Human Rights Center and council member of the Alternative Law Groups (ALG); Nolasco Ritz Lee B. Santos III, Executive Director of Balaod Mindanao and chairperson of Amnesty International Philippines and chairperson of ALG; Marie Hazel E. Lavitoria, Executive Director of Sentro ng Alternativong Lingap Panlegal (SALIGAN) and also a council member of ALG.

They are joined by law students Dominic Amon R. Ladeza and Xamantha Xofia A. Santos.

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The high court has rescheduled the oral argument on the matter as it consolidated the two other petitions filed against the martial law extension — the petitions filed by the Makabayan bloc and the group of Monsod.

The oral argument is set for Jan. 29 and, if necessary, will be extended to Jan. 30, SC Court Administrator and Spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said. /ee

RELATED STORY:
SC resets oral argument on 3rd martial law extension 

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