‘SC ruling could embolden Duterte to declare nationwide martial law’
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Thursday lamented the decision of the Supreme Court finding President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law declaration valid, which rendered the high court powerless and which could embolden the President to declare martial rule nationwide.
In a statement, Lagman, a petitioner against martial law, said the Supreme Court decision rendered the magistrates powerless in reviewing the president’s exercise of martial law, as required for in the 1987 Constitution.
Lagman said the Supreme Court gave too much leeway to the President to declare emergency powers simply because he had access to confidential information.
“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.
Lagman feared that the Supreme Court decision, in pronouncing that the martial law coverage is up to the President’s discretion, could “(pave) the way for an expanded territorial ambit of a martial law declaration.”
Lagman found “completely unnecessary” the portion of the decision, which reads: “Clearly, the Constitution grants the President the discretion to determine the territorial coverage of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. He may put the entire Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.”
Lagman said the Supreme Court decision could “embolden” Duterte to expand his martial law nationwide.
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