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Minority lawmakers to file SC petition vs martial law extension

/ 05:30 PM July 23, 2017

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman. (File photo by EDWIN BACASMAS / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said on Sunday he and other minority lawmakers would file a petition against the extension of martial law in Mindanao, giving the Supreme Court (SC) a “second chance” to resolve their issues.

“Bibigyan natin ang korte suprema ng pangalawang pagkakataon na i-resolve ang mga issues na ito. Merong isang issue na hindi kasama don sa unang petisyon – yung duration ng imposition ng martial law. Sapagkat dito, yong duration ng extension ay mas mahaba pa don sa orihinal na 60 days,” Lagman said in an interview with Super Radyo dzBB.

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(“We will give the Supreme Court a second chance to resolve our issues. There is this one issue not included in the first petition – the issue on the duration of the imposition of martial law. Because the duration of the extension is even longer than the original 60 days.”)

In a special joint session on Saturday, Congress approved the extension of martial law with a vote of 261-18.

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Lagman stressed that the petition would not only be a chance to get approval of the Supreme Court but also an opportunity to inform the public of the limitations of President Rodrigo Duterte’s power.

“Ito rin ang chance na ipaliwanag sa taumbayan kung ano talaga ang mga limitation ng power of the president to declare martial law. Ito rin ang opportunity na mabigyan ang korte suprema ng pagkakataon na magdesisyon not only for the people but for the bar and practitioners and other courts,” he said.

(“This is a chance to explain to the public the limitations of the president’s power to declare martial law. This is also an opportunity to give the Supreme Court a chance to decide not only for the people but for the bar and practitioners and other courts.”)

Lagman had earlier led the filing of a petition against Duterte’s first declaration of martial law in Mindanao. In this second petition, which they plan to file next week, they would question the factual basis, the coverage, and the length of the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

Lagman said the extension had no factual basis, saying: “Sapagkat ang nangyari sa Mindanao ay hindi naman talaga rebellion. It’s lawless violence.”

(“Because what happened in Mindanao is not an act of rebellion. It’s lawless violence.”)

He also found the coverage of the extension unreasonable, noting that even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted there was no rebellion in other parts of Mindanao.

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As to the length of the extension, Lagman said: “So 150 days is too long. Hindi ito sang-ayon don sa prinsipyo don sa ating saligang batas na any imposition of martial law or suspension of the writ of habeas corpus should be for a limited time.”

(“This is not in accordance with the principle in our Constitution stating that any imposition of martial law or suspension of the writ of habeas corpus should be for a limited time.”)

At the same time, he slammed human rights abuses under martial law, citing a statement issued by the Davao del Sur Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines listing verified rights violations in the area.

“Hindi totoo na walang paglabag sa karapatang pantao at civil liberties doon sa Marawi at Lanao del Sur,” Lagman said.

(“It is not true that there are no violations against human rights and civil liberties in Marawi and Lanao del Sur.”)

He also cited the statement issued by the Makabayan bloc that the displacement of Marawi residents was in itself a human rights violation ”approximating a humanitarian crisis.”

The extension of martial law, Lagman fears, may lead to more abuses.

“Itong escalating deaths ng mga sundalo at mga terorista, kasama na ang mga innocent civilians; yung massive destruction of public and private properties sa Marawi; at yung displacement nga ng mga residents – ito ay lahat aftermath o resulta ng pagdeklara ng martial law,” he said.

(“The escalating deaths of soldiers and terrorists, as well as innocent civilians; the massive destruction of public and private properties in Marawi; and the displacement of its residents – these are all aftermath of the martial law declaration.”)

“So this would be inordinately aggravated by the extension of martial law,” Lagman added. /atm

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TAGS: 17th Congress, Edcel Lagman, House minority bloc, Marawi siege, Mindanao martial law, Supreme Court
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