VOTING 9-4, the Supreme Court magistrates upheld Tuesday, February 19, the constitutionality of the third extension of President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
Malacañang lauded the Supreme Court for its decision, saying all branches of government are on the same page when it comes to combatting terrorism.
"We commend the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the third extension of martial law in Mindanao," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
The Supreme Court rejected the four consolidated petitions challenging the constitutionality and factual basis of martial law.
Duterte first declared martial rule in Mindanao on May 23, 2017, shortly after the Maute terror group laid siege to Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.
Congress, in a joint session in December last year, voted in favor of extending martial law for the third time until December 31, 2019.
Panelo said the ruling indicated that all branches of government want to combat terrorism in the southern part of the country.
"We are pleased to note that the three separate and independent branches of government, the primordial duty of which is to protect the state and secure public safety, have forged a unified stand against the forces of rebellion and terrorism," Panelo said.
"We are also pleased to note that the Executive, Legislative and the Judiciary are on the same page in quelling the rebellion as well as combatting and dissipating terroristic acts destructive to lives and properties unleashed by ruthless and barbaric local and foreign armed lawless elements," he added.
In a press briefing, Task Force Bangon Marawi chair Eduardo del Rosario noted progress in the war-torn Marawi City.
Del Rosario stressed that the Duterte government is doubling efforts to finish the rehabilitation and recovery efforts in Marawi.
"It (Marawi) is full of economic activity and I think this can be attributed to the whole government approach, convergence efforts na ginagawa ng ating gobyerno (being done by the government)," he said.
Panelo was optimistic that the current administration would get the public's support in the rehabilitation of Marawi and promoting peace and order in Mindanao.
He also cautioned the Filipinos to stay "vigilant" against possible terror threats.
"As we fast-track the rehabilitation of the war-torn Marawi and promote security and peace and order in Mindanao, we ask the Filipino nation not to waver in their support for our Republic’s defenders. Let us remain vigilant and prevail against these anti-democratic forces," he said. (SunStar Philippines)