MANILA, Philippines – Solicitor General Jose Calida said there is factual basis to extend martial law in Mindanao, and it would be an “overreach” for the Supreme Court (SC) to encroach on this decision to prolong military rule.
“There is factual basis to support the extension of martial law for one year in Mindanao,” Calida said in a 63-page comment submitted to the SC.
Calida explained that the SC “considers only the information and data available to the President prior to, or at the time of the declaration.” (READ: Questions you need to ask about martial law in Mindanao)
He added the SC is not equipped to determine the strategic value of the military’s efforts to quell rebellion and restore peace. He said that do so “would be engaging in an act of adventurism if it dares to embark on a mission of deciphering the territorial metes and bounds of martial law.”
Calida also made the following arguments:
- “The petitions questioning the extension of martial law suffer from procedural infirmities”
- “The petitioners failed to establish grave abuse of discretion on the part of both houses of Congress in extending martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus“
- “Alleged human rights violations do not warrant the nullification of martial law”
- “The petitioners have not established the need for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or a writ of injunction”
Earlier, petitioners argued that the extension of martial law was unwarranted and unnecessary as armed combat has ended and Marawi has been liberated.
Calida, however, said the liberation of Marawi did not signal the end of rebellion in Mindanao and that surviving members of terrorist groups have not laid down arms.
Calida added that surviving members have also linked with other rebel groups, such as the New People’s Army (NPA).
On the argument of factual basis, Calida also said that Duterte has the power to decide the most appropriate measure for the country. (READ: SC ruling: Duterte can put ‘entire PH’ under martial law)
“In light of the wide array of information in the hands of the President, as well the extensive coordination between him and the armed forces regarding the situation in Mindanao, it would be an overreach for the Court to encroach on the President’s discretion,” the Solicitor General said. (READ: Calida: SC has no power to review martial law extension)
Below is the Office of the Solicitor General’s Consolidated Comment on Martial Law Extensions: