By Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos and Jeffrey Damicog
Malacañang has reiterated that President Duterte will follow whatever decision the Supreme Court (SC) makes on his Proclamation No. 216 which placed Mindanao under martial law for 60 days, starting May 23.
The statement was issued after the statement of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez warning of a constitutional crisis should the Supreme Court order the Senate and Congress to convene and hold a joint session to tackle the declaration of martial law, saying that he would defy it.
Presidential spokesmann Ernesto Abella refused to comment on Alvarez’s pronouncement but stood by Duterte’s statement that he will heed the SC.
“We will reserve comment on this matter, except to repeat the President’s statement yesterday that he will follow the Supreme Court’s decision,” Abella said during the Mindanao Hour press briefing over Radyo ng Bayan Saturday.
SC sets oral arguments
The Supreme Court (SC) will hear all three petitions which sought the nullification of President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216 which declared martial law and suspension of habeas corpus over Mindanao during the oral arguments it set this week. The oral arguments will start on June 13, 14, and 15.
The SC had issued orders yesterday, June 10, which consolidated the petition filed by the minority bloc led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman with the two other petitions which were filed only this Friday, June 9.
In the two orders addressed to the petitioners of the two petitions filed Friday, the high tribunal said “it is necessary and proper, without giving due course to the petition, to consolidate this case with G.R. No. 231658 (Representative Edcel C. Lagman, et. Al. vs. Hon. Salvador C. Medialdea, Executive Secretary, et al.).”
The SC directed all petitioners and the Office of the Solicitor General to attend the preliminary conference on June 12.
Two other petitions filed before the SC which are related to martial law are those seeking to compel the Senate and the Congress to convene jointly to vote over the proclamation. No date has been set for the hearing of those two petitions.
Consider the ‘terror situation’
Meanwhile, in an ambush interview in Sultan Kudarat Friday evening, Duterte said he would heed the Supreme Court as the government is bound by rules but hoped that the High Court will take the terror situation into consideration.
“Of course [I will follow]. We are bound by rules. Supreme Court na ‘yan. Kung magbalik ‘yung mga ISIS doon. Bahala na ang Supreme Court diyan mag-appreciate (That’s the Supreme Court already. But if the ISIS returns there, then I’ll leave that for the Supreme Court to appreciate),” Duterte said.
“I’m sure that they would take into account the fighting going on, and what’s behind it,” the President added, referring to the Islamic State (ISIS)
Duterte has claimed that the international extremist group ISIS is the one “purely” responsible for the attacks in Marawi City.
According to Abella, the Executive Branch is ready to provide information to the Supreme Court on the factual basis for martial law and writ suspension.
“Martial law and writ suspension which were deemed necessary to combat and neutralize the threat to public safety and national security posed by terrorists seeking to supplant government authority in Marawi at the instigation and with support from a brutal foreign entity, ISIS,” Abella said.
“We await the Supreme Court’s decision, and we stand ready to comply with it in full,” he added.
Duterte had earlier said that he will only listen to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) regarding martial law as they are the ones who know the real situation on the ground.
Fourth to declare martial law
Duterte is the fourth Philippine president to declare martial law following Jose P. Laurel in 1944, Marcos in 1972, and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now Pampanga Congresswoman, in 2009.
According to Duterte, he is not proud that he had declared martial law and recalled his earlier warnings not force his hand into it as it will be bloody.
“I am not proud of it. I am not happy because it indicates something there is trouble,” Duterte said.
Duterte earlier said that martial law in Mindanao will stay until the AFP and the PNP inform him that the situation in the island has returned to normal.
3 petitions filed
Three petitions seeking the nullification of Proclamation 212 have been filed.
Last Monday, members of the minority bloc of the House of Representatives filed their petition before the SC. Aside from Lagman, the petitioners included Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, Capiz Rep. Emmanuel Billones, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr.
This was followed by two other similar petitions filed before the SC on Friday.
A petition was filed by a group of women from Marawi City – Norkaya Mohamad, Sittie Nur Dyhanna Mohammad, Noraisha Sani, and Zahria Muti-Mapandi – who are represented by Alternative Law Groups Inc. led by former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Christian Monsod.
Another petition was filed by Lumad leader Eufemia Campos Culiamat, KMP peasant leader Virgilio Lincuna, Ateliana Hijos of Gabriela, trade union Roland Cobrado, Carl Antohny Olalo and Roy Jim Balanghig. They are represented by the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NULP).
Petitions for joint hearing
Meanwhile, two petitions were filed last Tuesday and Wednesday asking the SC to compel the Senate and Congress to convene jointly and vote over Proclamation No. 216.
Those who filed the first petition filed on Tuesday were former Senator Rene Saguisag; former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Christian Monsod; former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales; former Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) president Alexander Padilla; lawyer Rene Gorospe; and detained Senator Leila de Lima.
The petitioners of the second petition include by Bishop Emeritus Deogracias Iniguez; Bishop Broderick Pabillo; Bishop Antonio Tobias; former senator Wigberto Tanada; Adelaida Ygrubay, prioress of St. Scholastica’s Priory Missionary Benedictine Sisters; Shamah Bulangis of Siliman University; and Cassandra Deluria of the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
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