Post-Marawi siege, ‘overwhelmed’ SC justices favored martial law – Lagman
MANILA, Philippines – Opposition lawmaker Edcel Lagman said the Supreme Court (SC) justices “must have been overwhelmed” by the aftermath of the Marawi City siege, prompting them to uphold President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
On Wednesday, July 5, the Albay 1st District representative reacted to the 11-3-1 vote of the SC justices affirming the constitutionality of Duterte’s Proclamation Number 216.
Lagman was among the opposition lawmakers who had filed a petition urging the High Court to nullify martial law. (READ: After SC ruling, lawmakers fear PH-wide expansion of martial rule)
“The High Court must have been overwhelmed by the horrific and tragic aftermath of the declaration of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus which made the majority of the justices oblivious that the current escalating deaths, destruction and displacement of civilians were not the prevailing facts on 23 May 2017 when Proclamation Number 216 was issued,” said Lagman.
The human rights lawyer reasoned the sufficiency of the factual basis of the Mindanao martial law must be limited only to the situation in Marawi City on May 23, the day government troops clashed with members of Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group.
The police and military had attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, the supposed "emir" in the Philippines of international terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS).
The fighting is now on its 44th day, with many civilians still trapped in Marawi City.
“The ongoing armed confrontation, military air strikes and land offensives and the escalating deaths, destruction and displacement of civilians after 23 May 2017 are the aftermath or result of the martial law declaration which should not be considered as the appropriate actual basis for such controverted declaration and suspension,” said Lagman.
He maintains the terrorist groups’ attack in Marawi City should not be considered as a form of rebellion because this would mean the government is falling victim to propaganda. (READ: AFP, PNP chiefs 'inclined to recommend' martial law extension)
“To believe that the objective of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups is to establish a wilayah (province) in Marawi or Mindanao as part of the ISIS caliphate is to succumb to terrorist propaganda and propel these local terror groups to the world stage,” said Lagman.
“Except for the drumbeating say-so of the terrorist leaders, there is no evidentiary mooring for this bare propaganda,” he added.
Still, Lagman said the petitioners will be respecting the decision of the SC justices. He also expressed his appreciation for Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justices Alfredo Caguioa and Marvic Leonon.
Sereno, Carpio, and Caguioa ruled martial law should have been declared in Marawi City only, while Leonen voted to nullify the Mindanao martial law declaration altogether. – Rappler.com