Lagman to seek reversal of SC ruling upholding martial law

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 06 2017 09:42 PM

MANILA- Opposition lawmaker Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Thursday backpedaled and said he now intends to appeal the Supreme Court's decision upholding martial law in Mindanao.

Lagman called the Supreme Court’s ruling flawed and warned it may embolden the President to put the entire country under military rule.

"Serious errors in the majority decision will be exposed and expounded in the motion for reconsideration,” Lagman said in a statement.

The lawmaker had earlier told ANC that a reconsideration plea would be "an exercise in futility," saying it would be "difficult to have a rematch with 11 justices who may not change their stance in favor of the president."

In its ruling Tuesday, eleven justices had affirmed martial rule over all of Mindanao, while three voted to limit the declaration to certain parts of the island. One magistrate meanwhile said the declaration had no basis.

Lagman said the majority decision effectively deferred to the discretion of the president and gave him "much leeway and flexibility" to declare martial law as he has the arsenal of intelligence information to warrant such declaration.

"The majority decision even went to the extent of pronouncing that the territorial coverage of martial law is subject to the president's discretion, thus paving the way for an expanded territorial ambit of a martial law declaration,” he said.

Lagman said the High Court just emboldened the President to place the entire country under martial law when the ponencia declared: "Clearly, the Constitution grants the President the discretion to determine the territorial coverage of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. He may put the entire Philippines or any part thereof under martial law."

Lagman reiterated that the facts in Proclamation No. 216, the martial law declaration, and Duterte's report to Congress did not constitute sufficient factual basis. He added that the Supreme Court decision did not determine whether or not an actual rebellion existed inside and outside of Marawi City.

He said the use of news accounts as secondary sources of information “must be given credence and removed from the hearsay rule” as these are statements of government officials validated by independent news outlets.