Philippines SC upholds martial law

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Administration senators on Tuesday, July 4, welcomed the Supreme Court decision upholding the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

The Supreme Court, in an en banc session held today, made a decision to uphold the validity of Duterte's martial law in Mindanao, dismissing the consolidated petitions filed by opposition lawmakers, four women from still-besieged Marawi City, and progressive leaders.

All 15 justices have circulated their respective opinions, whether concurring or dissenting, and "all opinions will be finalized and submitted by Wednesday", the SC briefer said.

Philippine opposition lawmakers petitioned the High Court to review and nullify Duterte's decision, saying there was no revolution or invasion where public safety required the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

He declared martial law over Mindanao on May 23, the same day firefights between government troops and terrorists erupted in Marawi City.

Martial law will stay until the last terrorist is dead, the President told reporters in Bulacan. "Konsyensya Dabaw particularly salutes Associate Justice Marvic Leonen who dissented from the majority ruling" and Sereno, Carpio and Caguioa who voted to limit the coverage of martial law in Mindanao.

"Clearly, the Supreme Court is making decisions not irrespective of the broader political atmosphere", Mr. Heydarian said. "We have high hopes that this war will soon come to an end".

"Now, Martial Law can nearly arbitrarily be declared, and, in a sense, apparently putting us at the hands of a de facto military junta", he said, adding he expects "an emboldened military and police to commit more human rights violations and further endanger the lives of our people not just in Marawi but the whole of Mindanao".

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"I was there, I briefed them, I and General [Eduardo] Año briefed... the Supreme Court en banc", Lorenzana, who is also martial law administrator, said in a news briefing.

The martial law is legally limited to 60 days, and the green light of the parliament is necessary to prolong it. Mr Duterte said that he could indeed extend it and he also threatened to extend it if necessary to the whole country. "It should be noted that Martial Law in Mindanao was consented by Duterte under pressure and prodding of the US-AFP, based on the unsubstantial basis", Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said in a statement on Tuesday.

Duterte commended the troops in Marawi and saluted them for their relentless effort and determination in retaking the city from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf local terror groups.

Lacson was referring to Sen. Gregorio T. Honasan II pointed out the SC ruling showed that "this is Philippine pluralistic democracy at work".

The SC has yet to rule on two other petitions filed against Proclamation No. 216 and seeking to compel Congress to convene and deliberate on the declaration. Whatever its flaws, politics and democracy in its worst forms are much better than no rules, which is anarchy.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that with the Supreme Court decision, the whole government now stands together as one against the common enemy. "Notwithstanding the declaration of martial law's legality, those responsible for the sledgehammer solution to a legitimate problem must be made to account if not by law but by history particularly for the alarming increase of human rights violations in the Mindanao region", he said in a statement.

"The Filipino people should be very vigilant and resist the further continuation of Martial Law in Mindanao or its extension to other parts of the Philippines", Zarate said.

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