VP Leni: SC decision on Mindanao martial law affirms PH democracy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 04 2017 07:06 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo greets families at an evacuation center outside Marawi City while government forces continue fighting insurgents from the Maute group in the conflict zone. Philippines June 26, 2017. Jorge Silva, Reuters

MANILA- Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday described the Supreme Court's decision to uphold martial law in Mindanao as an affirmation of the country's democratic system.

"The Supreme Court decision on Proclamation No. 216 is an affirmation of the democratic process set in our Constitution. This is an important component of the mandated checks and balances to martial law," Robredo said in a statement.

The vice president added that she expects Congress to fulfill its constitutional duty to review the declaration of martial law in Mindanao as she calls on the public to remain vigilant.

"We expect that Congress will likewise fulfill its Constitutional duty to review, on behalf of the people, the declaration of martial law in Mindanao," she said.

Congress had opted not to convene in joint session to review Duterte's declaration.

"Together with remaining vigilant in safeguarding our rights and Constitutional processes, we must continue to work on providing relief for our brothers and sisters affected by the Marawi Clash, and, furthermore, prepare for the more difficult task of helping them rebuild their lives," she added.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire island of Mindanao under military rule on May 23 after clashes between government forces and Islamic State-inspired extremists broke out.

Thousands have fled war-shaken Marawi City while more than 461 people have been killed in ongoing clashes, among them 337 terrorists, 85 government forces, and 39 civilians.

On Tuesday, the high court affirmed the President's martial law declaration in Mindanao, with 11 magistrates voting in favor of it. Three justices voted to limit military rule within Marawi City and nearby areas, while one justice voted to nullify the proclamation altogether.

The ruling came out on the 43rd day of the 60-day martial rule.