'No rebellion' in Marawi? Calida says critics 'detached from reality'
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government's top lawyer said those who "deny" the existence of a rebellion in the southern Philippines are showing symptoms of psychosis "since they are detached from reality."
The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) will be submitting on Monday, June 12, its comment on petitions filed before the Supreme Court (SC) against the proclamation of martial law in Mindanao and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. (READ: Calida: Supreme Court should prevail on martial law)
President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216 on May 23, hours after local terrorists – the Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf Group – attempted to take control of Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. The two terror groups earlier pledged loyalty to the international Islamic State (ISIS).
Speaking to media, Solicitor General Jose Calida said he was confident the declaration would be justified before the SC. He insists those who question the proclamation don't have a valid argument. (READ: Lawyers to Duterte: Stop martial law abuses in Marawi)
"Their denial that there is an ongoing rebellion by the combined forces of the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf, heightened by the participation of foreign jihadists to make Mindanao a caliphate of ISIS, is like saying that the sun does not rise from the east. This is a symptom of psychosis since they are detached from reality," he said.
It was Calida, during a press conference in Davao City, who first confirmed that foreign fighters were among those killed in clashes between government troops and the terrorists. At least 8 foreign fighters – from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Yemen, and the Chechen Republic – have been confirmed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Martial law stays over Mindanao for a maximum of 60 days, unless Duterte gets congressional approval for an extension. The SC may also review the basis for a martial law declaration if a petition is filed questioning it. (READ: Martial Law 101: Things you should know)
On Saturday, June 10, the High Court ordered the consolidation of the petition filed by Lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat and Women from Marawi, led by Norkaya Mohamad, with an earlier petition filed by opposition legislators.
Respondents to the petition include Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (martial law administrator), and AFP chief General Eduardo Año (martial law implementor).
"I am confident that we will be able to prove that there was substantial basis, factual basis in declaring martial law and that the petitions will be dismissed," said Calida, who will defend the government's position before the SC.
Oral arguments are set from Tuesday, June 13, to Thursday, June 15.
At least two other petitions – this time, to compel Congress to convene jointly to discuss and review the declaration – have also been filed before the SC. The two chambers of Congress, which are dominated by allies of the President, did not convene to discuss the proclamation. Instead, they issued separate resolutions supporting martial law in Mindanao.
The SC has yet to act on these petitions. (READ: Duterte to follow SC on martial law) – Rappler.com