Calida: No need to fear extended martial law in Mindanao
There is no need to fear the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao, Solicitor General Jose Calida said Wednesday.
“All of the petitioners are haunted by the ghost of martial law past. There is no reason for them to feel that way,” Calida said during the second day of the oral argument on martial law extension.
“The guarantees under the Bill of Rights remain in place during its pendency. And where the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is also suspended, such suspension applies only to those judicially charged with rebellion or offenses connected with invasion. President [Rodrigo] Duterte has not violated these safeguards,” Calida added.
The lead government lawyer said none of the petitioners can dispute the security assessment made by the military and the police.
During the oral argument, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Rey Leonardo Guerrero has provided the Supreme Court with their basis in requesting an extension of martial law.
He said with the extent of terror activities in Mindanao, the one-year extension is an “ambitious target,” although he said they are willing to recommend the lifting of martial law even before the one-year period if they are sure that the threats have been eradicated.
“The petitioners have not presented facts to disprove the statement of General Guerrero that the extension of the proclamation of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao will significantly help not only the AFP but also the other stakeholders in putting an end to the ongoing rebellion and in restoring public order, safety and stability in Mindanao,” Calida added.
Four petitions have been filed with the Supreme Court seeking the nullification of the one-year extension. The consolidated petitions have been filed by the minority bloc from Congress led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, the Makabayan bloc led by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao; former Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales; and a group led by Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the Constitution.