MANILA- The Supreme Court's decision to uphold military rule in Mindanao shows that there is factual basis for President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration, some senators said Tuesday.
Senators Koko Pimentel, Migz Zubiri, and Richard Gordon hailed the high court's ruling and urged the government to focus on ridding Mindanao of terrorists.
"I had no doubts that the President validly, with factual basis, declared martial law. [There is] nothing surprising with the Supreme Court decision. I actually expected that. The Supreme Court was just doing its job," Pimentel said in a statement.
Pimentel however highlighted that extending martial law is different from the declaration.
"Extension is different from declaration because the time frame is different. Declaration may be justified but extension is not, that's a possibility," he said.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao and dismissed several petitions that questioned its basis.
Eleven magistrates voted to uphold Duterte's declaration over all of Mindanao, while 3 voted to limit military rule within Marawi City and nearby areas. One justice, meanwhile, voted to nullify the proclamation altogether.
Zubiri on the other hand said he was "relieved" with the Supreme Court's decision since the government can now focus on offensives against extremists.
"I'm relieved that the Supreme Court upheld the Declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao so that the government security forces can continue their pursuit and clearing operations against the terrorist without a cloud of doubt on their mandate to do so," he said.
Gordon, for his part, said the President should use the support of Congress and the SC to resolve the Marawi crisis.
"This only goes to show that we have a very strong majority and factual basis for [the] declaration of martial law is sustained. Now is the time to fix the situation not only in Marawi but in the whole of Mindanao. Now that the President has the support of the court and congress, he should use that support not to be over confident, but certainly because we believe that there is situation occurring in the country that must be solved," he said.--report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News