By Fred M. Lobo
The Supreme Court has declared that martial law in Mindanao is constitutional.
So let’s end terror and rebellion threats, an elated Pres. Duterte said.
Voting 11-4, the High Tribunal dismissed three petitions against Pres. Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216, in effect declaring constitutional the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao for 60 days.
No more legal question on Duterte’s ML declaration, Malacañang rejoiced.
SC spokesman Theodore O. Te announced that “the court dismissed the petitions by a vote of 11 of its members, three members voted to partially grant the petitions, and one member voted to grant the petitions.
Constitutional mandate for SC “to review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof ” complied with.
Buoyed by the SC decision, Pres.Duterte affirmed his resolve to put an end to the threats of terrorism and rebellion, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
“The High Court has spoken: Proclamation 216 is constitutional,” Abella reiterated.
“The President is sworn to protect the Filipino people. He will not waver in this commitment to end rebellion, and the evil of terrorism and to liberate Marawi.
“With the Supreme Court decision, the whole government now stands together as one against a common enemy,” Abella said.
Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, said that he and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Eduardo Año are inclined to support the extension of martial law in Mindanao if the Marawi City problem persists.
“We are inclined to recommend to the President that if possible, since the situation has not yet stabilized, it would be better that it be extended for the rehabilitation of Marawi City,” Dela Rosa said
“It would be difficult to go on with the rehabilitation with the firefight still on-going…So if we would be asked by the President, (I and) General Año… might as well recommend the extension even for a few days,” Dela Rosa added.
Meanwhile, Malacanang said that more than P500 million worth of cash and valuables have been stolen by Islamic militant groups and criminal gangs amid the raging conflict in Marawi City.
Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups have even forced some hostages to participate in their looting activites, Abella added.
“Disturbing revelations. Fresh from inside Marawi comes disturbing narratives of looting, burglary and theft,” Abella said in a Palace news conference.
Indeed , time to end looting, terror, and rebellion threats.
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