Senators: SC decision on martial law extension in Mindanao ‘no longer surprising’
The Supreme Court’s decision which upheld the one-year extension of martial law (ML) in Mindanao, came as no surprise for some senators, with one saying it was a “political issue best resolved” between the executive and legislative branches of government.
“Tama naman yan. They should defer to the political branches when it comes to matters like this,” Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said in a text message on Tuesday.
Senator Sonny Angara said the Tribunal’s decision was no longer surprising as Congress and the executive branch are the ones tasked to tackle the issue of martial law declaration.
“Pinapawalang-bisa lang ito kapag may nakita ang SC na pang aabuso o illegal sa proseso ng pagdeklara ng ML, subalit alam naman natin na sumunod sa Saligang Batas ang deklarasyon at ito ay para sugpuin ang terorismo at pigilin ang pagkalat nito sa Mindanao,” Angara pointed out in a separate text message.
Senator Panfilo Lacson meanwhile shared his colleagues’ opinions.
“The matter of declaring martial law and extending the same is a political issue that is best resolved between the executive and legislative branches of government. In fact, the SC, in its recent ruling in Lagman vs Medialdea, even added a third element which only requires probable cause to be determined by the president to justify martial law,” Lacson said in another text message.
“At any rate, come to think of it, there are no extra powers given to the implementers of martial law that are beyond the bill of rights provision in the Constitution. Add to that the absence of validated reports of abuses committed by the uniformed services that were deployed in Marawi and the nearby areas.”
“Further, the SC has opted to respect the principle of separation of powers not to mention the factual bases presented before the magistrates for their appreciation,” said the senator.
The three senators— Pimentel, Angara Lacson— were among the 14 senators, who voted in December last year to approve the extension of martial law from January 2018 to December 2018. Only four senators voted against it.
Voting 10-5, the SC upheld the extension of martial law.
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