MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court of the Philippines begins its oral arguments on martial law in Mindanao began on Tuesday, June 13.
First thing tackled by the justices and petitioners? The burden of proof.
Lian Buan files this video blog:
LIAN BUAN, REPORTING: Day one of the Supreme Court Oral Arguments on martial law is done for the day.
This is the first time that the SC and the petitioners are tackling something like this.
For the good part of the afternoon, Associate Justices Lucas Bersamin and Presbitero Velasco pounded on one issue: who should produce the contradictory evidence that there’s no sufficient basis to declare the martial law?
Justice Bersamin said the SC is a passive institution, it’s not an investigative body who could go out there and find the evidence.
LUCAS BERSAMIN, SC ASSOCIATE JUSTICE: So there is no standard? You leave that to the court, to the good judgment of the court, as you would leave the proclamation of martial law to the good judgment of the President. We do not know what you want because you are the one challenging the proclamation, but we are willing to presume the good faith of the government.
Justice Velasco even asked the petitioners to submit to them documents which provide a support to their assertion that there’s no sufficient basis to declare the martial law.
PRESBITERO VELASCO JR, SC ASSOCIATE JUSTICE: There’s no attachment at all of any document that would tell the court that there’s probably no truth in the statements contained in the Proclamation 216. You have only made a very bare assertion that there is no sufficient factual basis, and this to me is not proof at all.
For Marlon Manuel of the Alternative Law Groups who’s representing the Marawi group of petitioners, the constitution is clear that the SC may review the factual basis of the martial law, and as such they have the power to find the evidence.
MARLON MANUEL, COUNSEL OF PETITIONER: The constitution specifically allows for a review mechanism and in fact it even orders the SC to decide within 30 days, this is a unique power of judicial review, this is not a simple review of an official’s act.
How will they do it? Will they compel government officials or subpoena documents? Manuel said it’s up to them to decide how to do it.
For him, it is not enough to go by what the government is willing to say and not have a check and balance in one of the most pressing issues of the nation today.
Lian Buan, Rappler, Manila. – Rappler.com