LOCAL leaders in Mindanao and human rights advocates asked Friday the Supreme Court (SC) to nullify President Rodrigo Duterte's proclamation that has placed the entire Mindanao under martial law.

This was the fourth petition filed in relation to the President's martial law declaration in the southern Philippines and the second petition seeking to invalidate Duterte's Proclamation 216.

The petitioners in the latest petition include five local Mindanao leaders, namely Lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat, peasant leader Virgilio Lincuna, Gabriela's Ateliana Hijos, trade union leaders Roland Cobrado and Carl Anthony Olalo; and union leader Roy Jim Balanghig.

The group was represented by the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL).

In their petition, the group said the President failed to provide enough factual basis that could prove that rebellion is occurring in Mindanao.

“Presuming without conceding that there exists actual rebellion in the entire Mindanao, Respondents failed to provide sufficient factual basis that such rebellion has reached an extent that public safety requires the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,” the petitioners said.

They also claimed that martial law puts in peril the peace process being undertaken by the government with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

In their petition, the group also asked the SC to include their plea in the oral arguments set on the petition earlier filed by a group of opposition lawmakers on June 13-15.

Respondents in the petition are President Rodrigo Duterte, Executive Secretary Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-Staff Lieutenant General Eduardo Año and Philippine National Police Director-General Ronald Dela Rosa.

The first petition, seeking to annul the order, was filed by a group of opposition lawmakers led by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman.

The second and third petitions filed respectively by a group of lawyers and church leaders urge the SC to compel the House of Representatives and the Senate to convene and discuss martial law. (SunStar Philippines)