MANILA - An opposition lawmaker insisted that there was no factual basis for the third extension of martial law in Mindanao, citing the administration's failure to justify this move.
Speaking to ANC, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said there is no "actual rebellion" in the south, which is a requirement in the imposition of martial law based on the 1987 Constitution.
Lagman said while there have been reported bombings and other violence in Mindanao, these incidents were not connected and were "not indicative of rebellion."
"We can agree there are continuing acts of terrorism and lawless violence in Mindanao but this is not related. The President in his letter failed to rebate this terrorism to rebellion," he said.
"Rebellion is an uprising against the government in order to remove the country or a portion thereof from allegiance to the republic nothing in the letter of the president said that," he added.
Lagman also stressed that it is within President Rodrigo Duterte's power to call out the military to respond to incidents of violence without declaring martial law.
The Albay representative is among the lawmakers who filed a petition before the Supreme Court last Friday to void the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
"We would like the Supreme Court to revisit its previous decisions. It is enshrined in our jurisprudence that there should be no idolaters or blind adherence to presidents," Lagman said.
In a joint session last December, the Senate and the House of Representatives, granted Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2019.
The President earlier asked Congress to allow martial law to remain in place in Mindanao to quell terrorist groups that "continue to defy the government by perpetrating hostile activities."
Duterte first declared martial law in Mindanao when firefights erupted between state troops and Islamic State-inspired terrorists in Marawi City in May 2017.
The original martial law declaration was supposed to last only for 60 days, as indicated in the Constitution, but Congress voted to extend it until the end of 2017 to help troops end the siege.
In late 2017, Duterte requested for another extension until the end of 2018, saying the militants were regrouping despite the end of clashes.