THE Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Davao City Chapter said the extension of martial law is justified if the rebellion perpetrated by the Islamic State-linked terrorists still continues.
IBP-Davao president lawyer Rogelio Largo told SunStar Davao that the constitutionality of the declaration of martial law over the entire island of Mindanao was already upheld by the Supreme Court.
He said if the rebellion perpetrated by the Islamic State-linked terrorists still persists, then the extension is justified. Otherwise, the extension is unconstitutional.
“The extension of the martial law is more of a factual question than a legal one. The present constitution requires actual rebellion not just for initial declaration of martial law but also for its extension,” Largo said.
He said the rebellion may still exist even in the absence of actual firefights between the government troops and the extremist elements. He added that the extremist group may have been weakened but not yet totally neutralized
“It is not farfetched that, as claimed by the military, the remaining rebels are now recruiting more members and planning another round of attacks,” he said.
Doubtless, Largo said, rebels pose a continuing threat to the security of Mindanao and its people. Crime fighting is a concern of the Chief Executive and the military, he added.
Largo said if in their judgment an extended military rule over the island is what is needed to fully quell the rebellion, then people must support them, provided that civil and political rights of the people are respected at all times.
“The present constitution contains a lot of safeguards against military abuses,” Largo said.
He also said that when martial law was declared in May 2017, the IBP Davao City Chapter established a help desk and announced that it will be willing to receive complaints about military abuses in relation to martial law implementation and file cases against abusive military personnel.
Largo said up to now, not a single complaint was received by the IBP.