Philippine Supreme Court upholds Duterte's martial law in south

Pimentel said that he had "no doubts" that Pres. Duterte declared martial law with factual basis.

However, senators Joel Villanueva and Hontiveros wanted answers to some of their questions.

Hontiveros said that Pres. Duterte must not see the decision as a "free pass" to expand martial law to other parts of the country.

Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, in a statement, said the decision was an "important component of the mandated checks and balances to martial law".

"We must not let our guards down against the emergence of terrorism and banditry in the area", Duterte said.

Praising the decision, Calida said the judiciary has shown it "is one with the President in protecting and defending our country's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

"It's not dependent on the whim of the Supreme Court", he said.

Already criticized by the ill treatment and violence of his "war on drugs", Mr. Duterte had in any case warned that he would ignore the decision of the Supreme Court and that he would listen only to the police and the army. "We have high hopes that this war will soon come to an end". "To make sure that it is safe to conduct rehabilitation, Martial Law should be extended to ensure the positive outcome of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi", he added.

Konsyensa Dabaw cited Task no. 3 of the AFP Operational Directive to "degrade the armed capabilities of the NPA", which is "worrisome because there have been no proven connections between the NPA and the jihadists, and in light of efforts to bring the peace process between government and the National Democratic Front back on track". "I can only hope that none of our Senate colleagues will call the magistrates lapdogs and cowards of the administration".

He further said that he knew that the Senators who voted for martial law did right in supporting the martial law proclamation in Mindanao when it was debated in caucus and in plenary.

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Sen. Panfilo Lacson agreed and said there could be no other decision.

Sen. Gringo Honasan, for his part, described the SC decision as "Philippine pluralistic democracy at work".

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate expressed worries about a "military junta" that may eventually effectively rule in place of a proper civilian government.

Honasan pointed out that flaws in politics and democracy in its worst forms are much better than no rules which is anarchy noting that "everything else is procedural". "Now is the time to fix the situation not only in Marawi but in the whole of Mindanao", Gordon said.

On the other hand, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto C. Abella said that, with the SC ruling, all branches of the government are now united toward crushing a common enemy.

They said the acts of terrorism in Marawi "are not necessarily equivalent to actual rebellion and the consequent requirement of securing public safety" to justify the issuance of Proclamation No. 216.

"If the situation changes there, our recommendation may also change, depending on the situation in Marawi City", said the Chief PNP.

Ephraim Cortez, NUPL secretary general, echoed Tinio's opinion, adding that the government can most likely declare martial law in the whole country if they were able to do so in Mindanao "based on alternative and magnified facts as well as exaggerated scenarios".

Villanueva did not disagree with the SC's decision but noted that it must be recalled that the declaration previously had issues regarding its scope.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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