Senators shrug off SC case vs Mindanao martial law
Senators supporting the martial law declaration in Mindanao stood their ground on Monday even after the issue was brought before the Supreme Court.
“That’s their right to petition. I don’t expect much from it,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said in a separate text message.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the filing of a petition against martial law was “wrong,” citing recent reports of the alleged presence of 1,200 Islamic State fighters in the Philippines.
READ: 1,200 IS operatives in PH, says Indonesia
“Anti-Duterte lang sila (They’re just anti-Duterte), it’s as simple as that,” Sotto said of opposition congressmen, who initiated the case against the martial law declaration.
Like Recto, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero also recognized the petitioners’ “right and prerogative” to question the legality of the martial law declaration.
READ: Independent minority bloc assails Duterte’s martial law before SC
“But it seems quite obvious, based on media reports alone, that there is an ongoing rebellion in Marawi,” Escudero said, referring to the armed conflict in Marawi City in Lanao del Sur between the government troops and the Maute terrorist group.
Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, meanwhile, expressed confidence the Supreme Court would uphold the constitutionality of martial law.
“I am confident the Supreme Court will uphold as lawful the declaration of martial law, which is absolutely necessary to attain genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao,” Ejercito said.
And while anyone has the right to question the factual bases of the proclamation of martial law, the senator urged the public to rally behind the President and the brave men and women of the armed forces.
“They are sacrificing their lives in order to thwart a rebellion led by ISIS-inspired terrorist group and to enable is to enjoy our freedom,” Ejercito added.
The four senators — Recto, Sotto, Escudero, and Ejercito — were among the 17 senators who voted in favor of a resolution supporting the martial law declaration.
Recto and Escudero, on the other hand, voted in favor of the Senate minority bloc’s resolution urging Congress to deliberate the martial law declaration in joint session.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, meanwhile, threw his support behind the petition against martial law.
“While we chose not to file a petition after we failed to get the Senate to agree to a joint session, we support the effort to get a factual determination as to the grounds of the declaration,” Pangilinan, president of Liberal Party and opposition member, said in another text message.
“It serves the highest public interest to have a matter as extraordinary as a martial law declaration to be thoroughly deliberated upon and decided by the Supreme Court,” he added.
Pangilinan — and the five other minority senators — had filed a resolution asking Congress to tackle in a joint session the martial law declaration. But voting 12-9, the Senate junked the measure. JE/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.