MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court to uphold President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao, and called the ruling a show of "unity" against a "common enemy."
“With the Supreme Court decision, the whole government now stands together as one against a common enemy,” Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement to media on Tuesday, July 4.
Minutes before, the High Court announced that 11 justices voted to dismiss petitions against the martial law declaration, 3 voted to partially grant the petitions, and one voted to grant them.
Abella said that with the SC decision, citizens should support its implementation.
“We ask the public to give their full support and cooperation to local authorities. After all, securing communities is a responsibility that must be shared by everyone,” said Duterte’s spokesman.
He emphasized that Duterte, as commander-in-chief, “will not waver in this commitment to end rebellion, the evil of terrorism, and to liberate Marawi.”
In a separate statement, Solicitor General Jose Calida thanked the SC justices for the favorable decision.
“I am grateful to the magistrates of the Honorable Supreme Court for allowing President Duterte to perform his duty of protecting the Filipino people,” said Calida, who defended the martial law declaration during the oral arguments.
The ruling proved there is a "real and present rebellion" in Mindanao, he added.
“The monumental decision of the Supreme Court affirming Proclamation No. 216 underscores the existence of a real and present rebellion that threatens the lives of our fellow Filipinos in Mindanao, and their much-cherished liberties,” said Calida.
Like Abella, the Solicitor General said the High Court's ruling showed that the latter was "one with the President" in protecting the nation from rebels.
"As the conscience of our nation, the Supreme Court did not sit idly to watch our country get dismembered. In fact, this decision shows that the Honorable Supreme Court is one with the President in protecting and defending our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity," Calida said.
The martial law declaration was triggered by clashes between Muslim extremists and government forces in Marawi City starting May 23. Duterte had said that the threat of the Islamic State (ISIS), warranted the declaration.
On July 1, Duterte threatened to jail critics of his martial law declaration but the Palace downplayed this, saying he had only been using “strong language” to prove his determination to end the Marawi conflict.
The imposition of martial law in Mindanao marked its 43rd day on Tuesday. Since it is only valid for 60 days, it is supposed to be over by July 22, days before Duterte delivers his second State of the Nation Address.
Duterte said his decision to lift martial law or extend it will be based on recommendations to him by his security officials. Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said on Tuesday that he and Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año were "inclined" to recommend an extension. – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.