Supreme Court resumes oral arguments on martial law extension


Posted at Jan 17 2018 10:39 AM

MANILA - The Supreme Court on Wednesday continued with its oral arguments on petitions challenging the constitutionality of the extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year.

Expected to give their side on the second day of session are the government officials, including Solicitor General Jose Calida. Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Rey Leonardo Guerrero were also ordered to attend oral arguments.

Supreme Court's livestream may be heard here.

Congress last year approved President Rodrigo Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao for the second time to quell the threat of terrorism after his initial 60-day declaration in May 2017 due to firefights in Marawi City. He was initially granted an extension until Dec. 31, 2017.

The President had cited remaining security threats on the island in seeking another extension of martial law despite the end of hostilities between government forces and Islamic State-inspired extremists in Marawi City in October.

Four petitions have been filed seeking to invalidate the new extension of military rule in the southernmost island of the Philippines.

The petitioners include a group of opposition lawmakers led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of the Representatives, former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Etta Rosales, and lawyer Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution.

On Tuesday, the petitioners argued before the magistrate on the lack of factual basis of the extension of military rule in the southern region for another year, citing the absence of actual firefights in Mindanao.

"A year-long extension is aggravating. It violates the manifest Constitutional intent that the proclamation, suspension, and extension [of martial law] must be short and limited," Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said in his opening statement.