MANILA

Opposition to challenge martial law extension

OPPOSITION groups at the House of Representatives will challenge before the Supreme Court the Congress’ decision to extend martial law in Mindanao for a third time until December 2019.

“Yung pagdala ng petition challenging the third extension of martial law and the suspension of the writ (of habeas corpus) is an option which we are considering and it’s very possible that we’re going to file that petition before the Supreme Court,” Lagman said in a press conference on Thursday, December 13.

Lagman said the members of the Magnificent 7 bloc feel “very strongly” that there is no constitutional or factual bases for that extension.

The 17th Congress, granting the request of President Rodrigo Duterte for the third time extended martial law in Mindanao and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus up to December 2019 in a vote of 235-28-1 on Wednesday, December 12.

Critics will say that it is pointless to file the petition because there is a huge possibility that it will be junked anew, but Lagman said they will still push for it because they want to put the Supreme Court opinion on record.

Lagman believes that the SC would rule in favor of their petition this time.

“I think there’s a completely different scenario now compared to the original declaration of martial law and the first extension,” said Lagman.

“We feel very strongly that the Supreme Court would really see through our contention,” he added.

Makabayan bloc lawmakers, in a press conference on the same day, said they will also elevate their opposition to the Supreme Court.

“Maliban sa kakulangan ng oras talaga na inilaan para sa isang debate, malalimang debate, yung factual, legal at constitutional basis, mahirap talagang ijustify at in fact wala kang makikitang bago e sa arguement ng exective, ng Malacañang,” said Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao.

“We will be filing [a petition] definitely by January and we will challenge the magistrates, the justice of the Supreme Court kung hanggang ganito ba papayagan nila ang pagbastardize, hanggang ganito ba papayagan nila ang paglabag sa pinakaesensiya ng probisyon ng konstitusyon...” he added.

Casilao said the Makabayan bloc also doubts that the martial law will be used to ensure the victory of administration candidates.

“Malaki talaga ang duda namin that this will be an added tool for the incumbent partikular sa dominat party ngayon ni president duterte na gamitin nila at all cost to enusre the votes for mga kandidato ng hugpong [ng pagbabago] PDP (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan).”

The Magnificent 7 and the Makabayan bloc lawmakers earlier filed their respective petitions seeking to nullify the first decision of the Congress to extend martial law for one year or from January to December 2018.

Their respective appeals were denied by the SC, which said there was enough basis for the extension and that the decision of the Congress was within the bounds of the Constitution. (SunStar Philippines)


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