Malacañang: ’Perpetual’ martial law will never happen

Lian Buan
Malacañang: ’Perpetual’ martial law will never happen
'Martial law in perpetuity is a scenario that neither the President, Congress or the Supreme Court will allow as it is patently unconstitutional,' says Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday, December 28 that President Rodrigo Duterte will never allow a “martial law in perpetuity.”

“Martial law in perpetuity is a scenario that neither the President, Congress or the Supreme Court will allow as it is patently unconstitutional,” Roque said in a statement.

He was reacting to the petition filed by opposition lawmakers from the House of Representatives, asking the Supreme Court to stop the one-year martial law extension approved by Congress. From an original 60 days, government has now put Mindanao under martial law until the end of 2018.

“On the petitioners’ allegations that martial law may lead to “extension in perpetuity,” these are mere surmises and conjectures and not supported by law and the Constitution,” Roque said.

Nevertheless, he said the government is ready to defend martial law extension before the High Court. They have won before, when the same lawmakers wanted to declare the original proclamation unconstitutional. Supreme Court voted 11-3-1 in July in favor of the proclamation, and affirmed it 10-3-1 early December. (READ: SC ruling: Duterte can put ‘entire PH’ under martial law)

In the new petition filed on Wednesday, the so-called Magnificent 7 led by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman argued that there is no actual rebellion in Mindanao to justify the re-extension.

Citing limitations set forth by the Constitution, the lawmakers said nothing in the charter allows a series of extensions and said that the re-extension may lead to a martial law ‘in perpetuity.’

“Congress has overwhelmingly approved by a 240-27 vote the further extension of the proclamation of martial law. The legal and factual bases of the martial law extension have been clearly established based on the security assessment by our ground commanders,” Roque said. – 

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email or tweet @lianbuan.