MANILA- Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday said the Supreme Court's decision to affirm the declaration of martial law in Mindanao proves that there is a "real and present" rebellion in southern Philippines.
In a statement released shortly before the ruling was officially announced, Calida hailed the high court's decision, saying it showed that the judiciary "is one with the President in protecting and defending our country's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
"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," Calida said.
"As the conscience of our nation, the Supreme Court did not sit idly [by] to watch our country get dismembered," he said.
In a separate statement, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella also welcomed the ruling and said Duterte will not waiver in government's commitment to liberate Marawi City and end terrorism.
"The High Court has spoken: Proclamation 216 is constitutional. The President is sworn to protect the Filipino people. He will not waver in this commitment to end rebellion, the evil of terrorism and to liberate Marawi," Abella said.
"With the Supreme Court decision, the whole government now stands together as one against a common enemy. 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," he added.
In a majority vote, the Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed
President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao and dismissed several petitions that questioned its basis.
It came on the 43rd day of the 60-day martial rule over Mindanao, just as government continued offensives against Islamic State-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists in Marawi City.
In its ruling, eleven magistrates voted to uphold Duterte's declaration over all of Mindanao, while three voted to limit military rule within Marawi City and nearby areas. One justice, meanwhile, voted to nullify the proclamation altogether.
Details of the decision have yet to be released.
Duterte placed the entire island of Mindanao under military rule on May 23 after clashes between government troops and ISIS-linked terror groups. In justifying his declaration, the president said the militants were planning to create an Islamic State province in Mindanao.
In oral arguments on the petitions last month, Calida insisted that “all the elements of rebellion were present” when Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216. The President also suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus to allow police to make warrantless arrests of terror suspects.