SC to hear gov't side first in next week's oral arguments on Mindanao martial law extension


Posted at Jan 25 2019 08:39 PM

MANILA - The Supreme Court (SC) will first hear the explanation of the government in seeking a third extension of martial law in Mindanao, when it holds oral arguments next week.

The Office of the Solicitor General will present first followed by petitioners Magnificent 7, Makabayan bloc, and human rights groups led by Christian Monsod, in hearings next Tuesday and Wednesday.

The fourth petition against martial law extension, filed on Wednesday, was not consolidated with the first 3.

A source from the SC said the order is designed as such because the government bears the burden of proving sufficiency of factual bases for the third extension of martial law in the south.

In its advisory released to reporters on Friday, the high court also directed parties to submit all materials for the oral arguments by Monday, January 28, and all memoranda by Friday, February 1.

The high tribunal also identified the following as the issues to be discussed:

A. Whether there exists sufficient factual basis for the
extension of martial law in Mindanao:

- whether rebellion exists and persists in Mindanao;
- whether public safety requires the extension of martial law in Mindanao;
- whether the further extension of martial law has not been necessary to meet the situation in Mindanao.

B. Whether the Constitution limits the number of extensions and the duration for which Congress can extend the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

C. Whether Proclamation No. 216 has become functus officio with the cessation of the Marawi siege that it may no longer be extended.

D. Whether the manner by which Congress approved the extension of martial law is a political question and is not reviewable by the Court en banc:

- whether Congress has the power to determine its own rules of proceedings in conducting the joint session under Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution;

- whether Congress has the discretion as to how it will respond to the President's request for the extension of martial law in Mindanao--including the length of the period of deliberation and interpellation of the executive branch's resource persons.

E. Whether the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or extension thereof may be reversed by a finding of grave abuse of discretion on the part of Congress. If so, whether the extension of martial law was attended by grave abuse of discretion.

F. Whether the allegations of human rights violations in the implementation of martial law in Mindanao is sufficient to warrant a nullification of its extension.

G. Whether a temporary restraining order or injunction should issue.

President Rodrigo Duterte first declared martial law in Mindanao when firefights erupted between state troops and terrorists in Marawi City in May 2017. The Senate and the House of Representatives in December granted President his request to extend this until the end of 2019.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the initial declaration and the 2 subsequent extensions.

- report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News