Opposition lawmakers to contest SC martial law ruling
MANILA, Philippines – Opposition lawmakers plan to file a motion for reconsideration against the Supreme Court (SC) decision upholding the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman said on Thursday, July 6, that they made the decision after reading in full the majority decision of the High Court, which voted 11-3-1 in favor of martial law.
"After perusing the ponencia or the majority decision of the Supreme Court upholding the declaration of martial law in the whole of Mindanao, the opposition congressmen-petitioners have resolved to contest the ruling in a motion for reconsideration," said Lagman in a statement.
"Serious errors in the majority decision will be exposed and expounded in the motion for reconsideration," he added.
Among those expected to file the motion for reconsideration along with Lagman are his co-petitioners Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr, Capiz 1st District Representative Emmanuel Billones, and Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin.
On May 23, government troops clashed with members of the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group in Marawi City. 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 clashes prompted Duterte to declare martial law over the whole of Mindanao, a move questioned in several petitions before the SC.
In his statement, Lagman outlined the "serious flaws" they found in the SC's majority decision:
- The SC found sufficient basis in Duterte's Proclamation No. 216 despite several factual errors in the President's report to Congress. The 11 SC justices had said the inaccuracies are "irrelevant" in view of the necessary haste in deciding on the imposition of military rule.
- The SC justices "failed to judiciously determine" that actual rebellion existed in Marawi City when the terrorist groups clashed with the military "because the element of culpable political purpose is palpably absent."
- News accounts of the Marawi siege "must be given credence" and removed from the hearsay rule because they contain statements of government officials whose acts are clothed with presumption of regularity; the news accounts are not contradictory to each other; and the news reports are corroborated by independent news outlets.
According to Lagman, the SC gave Duterte "much leeway and flexibility" to declare martial law nationwide through its decision. (READ: SC ruling: Duterte can put 'entire PH' under martial law)
"This disquisition virtually closes the door for the Supreme Court to fully review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the President's exercise of extreme emergency powers," said Lagman, also a human rights lawyer.
Lagman previously said the 11 SC justices "must have been overwhelmed" by the aftermath of the Marawi City siege, forcing them to rule in favor of martial law. – Rappler.com