Supreme Court affirms martial law in Mindanao

Lian Buan

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Supreme Court affirms martial law in Mindanao

LeAnne Jazul

Newly-appointed Associate Justices Andres Reyes Jr and Alexander Gesmundo join the majority and vote to affirm the decision

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court en banc on Tuesday, December 5, affirmed its earlier ruling that upheld the constitutionality of President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation of martial law in Mindanao.

The en banc, which met on Tuesday morning, denied with finality 3 motions for reconsideration that appealed the ruling, which in essence, allows the President to put the entire Philippines under martial law.

The en banc voted 10-3-1 to deny the motions for mootness and lack of merit. The voting did not change much except for the votes of the new justices and Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, who previously voted in favor of martial law the first time, but was on leave and did not vote this time.

Newly-appointed Associate Justices Andres Reyes Jr and Alexander Gesmundo joined the majority and voted to affirm the decision.

Others who voted to deny the motions and affirm the decision were:  Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Diosdado Peralta, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Noel Tijam and Samuel Martires.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa stuck to their earlier vote to limit martial law to Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Sulu only.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio also voted to limit martial law to Marawi City only.

The lone dissenter was still Associate Justice Marvic Leonen who again voted to nullify the proclamation altogether.

Leonen, in his dissenting opinion, said the violence sowed by the Maute terror group in Marawi City was exaggerated by the government, calling the official narrative “far-fetched, when it could be nothing but fake news.”

Carpio and Sereno, in their opinions, said Duterte should be watched closely as he implements his power to implement the proclamation.

Martial law in Mindanao is set to expire on December 31, after Congress voted to extend it after its original expiry date on July 22. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.