Displaying items by tag: martial law

Palace: Rody will adhere to rule of law on ML

By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) 

 

Photo: President Duterte peers through the scope of a sniper rifle as he led the inspection of firearms recovered by troops during his visit to the 4th Infantry Division advance command post in Butuan City the other day.

 

MANILA, Philippines - Despite his threat that he would no longer listen to anyone if he declares martial law for the second time, President Duterte’s readiness to pull out troops from Marawi City if the Supreme Court orders him to do so indicates his respect for the rule of law, Malacañang said yesterday.

Speaking to the media in Butuan City last Saturday, Duterte said he would withdraw military forces from Marawi if the SC will declare that his martial law declaration has no factual basis.

The President, however, warned that if violence erupts anew in Mindanao and he declares martial law again, he would do it his way and would no longer listen to anyone.

He said the martial law he would declare could even be a “copycat” of that of former president Ferdinand Marcos, who has been accused of condoning human rights violations and silencing his critics.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella, however, made no mention of Duterte’s warning in the statement he issued yesterday, focusing only on the President’s willingness to pull out troops in Marawi.

“The President’s media interview (on June 17) after visiting the troops in Butuan underscores that he adheres to the rule of law and judicial independence,” Abella said.

“President Duterte made it clear that if the Supreme Court decides against the declaration of martial law, he would pull out the military in Marawi City on the ground that the high court does not believe there is a rebellion,” he added.

Abella reiterated though that Duterte is ready to declare martial law if “public safety requires it.”

“The President likewise made it clear that if and when there is another similar incident of rebellion… the President and commander-in-chief would again declare martial law and (exercise) police power given to the executive by no less than our Constitution,” the Palace spokesman said.

Duterte placed the whole Mindanao under martial law last May 23 after Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorists attacked Marawi to protect Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon from government forces.

Members of the opposition and some non-government organizations have challenged the martial law declaration before the SC, believing there is no sufficient basis to place the entire island under military rule.

The military claimed that the number of Maute terrorists is dwindling but officials could not say when martial law would be lifted. Duterte has said the martial law declaration would not be lifted until the fighting in Marawi stops.

Duterte maintained that the Maute terrorists have committed rebellion with the help of drug syndicates and warlords. He has also assailed those who question his claim that Mindanao is plagued with rebellion.

“What do you think? What do you want? That they devour half of Mindanao before we can call if a true blue rebellion?” he said last Saturday.

“They think the government is not doing anything right. Everything that we do is wrong and most of the time, they are the crybabies,” he added.

Asked when he would lift martial law, Duterte said: “Hindi matatapos ang martial law hanggang hindi natatapos ang putukan (Martial law won’t be lifted until the fighting is over).”

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SC's Bersamin says trust Duterte on martial law

MANILA – Just "trust the good judgment of the President," Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin said during oral arguments on Tuesday, June 13, – if petitioners are unable to produce proof that shows there is insufficient basis to declare martial law.
"I believe that the proclamation may be sufficient," Bersamin said, adding that he is willing to presume good faith and regularity on the part of government in the absence of evidence indicating otherwise.
During his interpellation of lawyer Ephraim Cortez during Day 1 of oral arguments on President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao, Bersamin emphasized that the burden of proof of showing the proclamation is invalid falls on the petitioners.
"Make an argument on the burden of proof," Bersamin told Cortez, "because this is a big thing for me." He grilled Cortez, asking him what standard of proof the High Court should impose – is it the magnitude of killing, damage to property, magnitude of violence, or the number of bodies?
"What do we need to review? You are not providing us material to review," Bersamin told Cortez, who maintained that because of the SC's constitutional power to review the basis of martial law, it can compel even President Duterte, to provide the necessary information.
"I cannot compel the President, you know that very well," Bersamin retorted.
Bersamin got Cortez to agree that in the absence of a clear standard, the determination of whether there is sufficient basis for the declaration of martial law is up to the good judgment of the High Court.
Bersamin followed with: "You leave that to the good judgment of the court, as you would leave the proclamation of martial law to the good judgment of the President." (READ: SC's Del Castillo: Isn't Marawi siege act of rebellion?)
 
'Passive institution'
"You don't tell us the facts you want to be put (in the martial law report). You know this is a passive institution, we cannot go out like the NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] or the police to gather the facts. We are not in that business," Bersamin said.
Cortez, however, said, "Our basis is to dispute the facts upon which the declaration is based. As a general rule, we are not duty-bound to prove our negative allegation and it is up to the government to prove the basis of the declaration of martial law."
Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco echoed Bersamin's line of thinking in his own interpellation of lawyer Marlon Manuel, who is representing the Marawi group of petitioners.
"There's no attachment at all in your petition of any document that would tell the Court that there's probably no truth to the statements in the proclamation. You have only made a very bare assertion that there is no sufficient or actual basis, and this, to me, is not proof at all," Velasco said.
Manuel replied that what they are alleging in their petition is the "non-existence of factual basis," so they will be unable to present documents to prove that.
Velasco pounded on Manuel, asking whether they exerted effort to verify the truth in the facts cited in Duterte's martial law report.
"Only to the extent we can," Manuel said, explaining that the petitioners have been at the receiving end of the proclamation.
When Velasco asked again if they verified facts, Manuel said that as residents of Marawi City, they had to evacuate to Iligan City after the crisis. 
 
Checks and balances
In an interview after the oral arguments, Manuel said the SC should have the power to find the evidence or at least compel evidence from the relevant government agencies, precisely because they were given the constitutional power to review factual basis for the proclamation.
"The SC should have their own procedure. If the Court requires the presence of the Secretrary of Defense, they can do that, because they have been impleaded, they can be summoned anytime," Manuel said.
"The 1987 Constitution, precisely may checks and balances mechanism na nilagay kasi sa karanasan natin hindi mapagkakatiwalaan ang Presidente noon na naglagay sa Pilipinas sa mahabang panahon ng martial law, kaya nagkaroon sa Constitution ng maraming layers ng review mechanisms," Manuel said.
(The 1987 Constitution has a checks-and-balances mechanism precisely because of our experience where we could not trust the President then, who put the Philippines under martial rule for a long time, that's why the Constitution has many layers of review mechanisms.)
Nevertheless, Velasco still asked the petitioners to submit to the SC documents which will support at least their allegations that some of the statements in Duterte's martial law reports are false.
 
Hearsay evidence
The main basis of the petitions in belying some of the claims in the report – such as the denied takeover of the Amai Pakpak Medical Center – are fact-check reports from news outfits.
Solicitor General Jose Calida had said in his consolidated comment, however, that news reports are inadmissible evidence because they are hearsay.
Asked how he thinks the petitioners fared on Day 1 of the oral arguments, Calida said: "I've seen better days."
Calida is also set to argue before the High Court that the petitions suffer from "fatal procedural defects" that warrant their outright dismissals. One of these technical loopholes, Calida said, is the absence of an Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) number from one of the petitioners' lawyers, constitutionalist Christian Monsod.
"This is a very important issue of public national interest, I don't think the SC will look at technicalities," Manuel said. – Rappler.com
 
 
 
 
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SC told: This is not Marcos’ martial law

By Edu Punay (The Philippine Star)

 

Solicitor General Jose Calida gave Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno this assurance when she insisted on the comparison during the continuation of oral arguments yesterday at the Supreme Court on Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao. File

 

 

MANILA, Philippines - President Duterte is not Ferdinand Marcos.

Solicitor General Jose Calida gave Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno this assurance when she insisted on the comparison during the continuation of oral arguments yesterday at the Supreme Court on Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

“President Duterte likewise ordered (that) the constitutional rights of the Filipino people shall be respected and protected at all times,” Calida said, as he also downplayed alleged human rights abuses raised by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines’ Lanao del Sur chapter.

“President Duterte’s order of martial law is markedly different from that issued by president Marcos,” Calida said, referring to the late dictator who ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986.

Enforced disappearances, tortures, killings and other forms of human rights abuses marked Marcos’ regime after he declared martial law on Sept. 21, 1972.

In defending Duterte’s martial law, Calida also said that the attack of Maute militants in Marawi City was not just an act of terrorism, but a clear case of rebellion and part of a bigger plot to make Mindanao part of an Islamic State (IS) caliphate.

“The crisis in Marawi is not an isolated incident... This is not only a display of Maute’s force but a siege of power,” Calida told the high court.

“The rebels seized Marawi not just with the intention of striking fear. They wanted to establish a caliphate and dismember Marawi,” Calida pointed out, presenting to the justices an IS flag recovered by the military from the rebels.

Calida argued that elements of rebellion – raising arms against the government and culpable purpose of removing allegiance from the government – were present in the crisis that required the President to use his power of declaring martial law under Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution.

Calida also noted that when Duterte saw the gravity of rebellion, he had to act swiftly and decisively to save Marawi.

“Were it not for the President’s swift action, the rebels would’ve established a stronghold in the heart of Mindanao,” Calida pointed out.

During interpellation, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio asked Calida why the declaration covered the entire Mindanao when there was no rebellion in other provinces.

The solicitor general cited “linkages” between the Maute group and other rebel groups in the region, like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and Abu Sayyaf.

“The seeds of rebellion were already planted in different parts of Mindanao. Public safety requires the declaration of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus not just in Marawi but also in the entire Mindanao,” he explained.

Sereno asked Calida why there was a need to declare martial law when the President already had the power to call out the military to stop the siege.

Calida explained that the President saw the calling-out power as a milder response and wanted a stronger action to stop the rebellion.

“That’s the judgment call of the President; he alone was vested with such power,” he stressed, basing his statement on the Constitution.

Technicalities

Calida likewise raised technical issues on the three consolidated petitions filed by opposition lawmakers led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, local Mindanao leaders led by lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat and a group of women from Marawi led by Norkaya Mohamad, seeking to strike down Proclamation No. 216.

He said the petitions have formal defects, citing their failure to specify the remedy being invoked for the SC to review the factual bases of the martial law proclamation.

The solicitor general argued that petitioners cannot just invoke the martial law provisions in the Constitution and should have instead filed petition for review under the Rules of Court.

“The discretion to proclaim martial law can only be questioned if the President acted with grave abuse of discretion. The burden on the petitioners is to show that the declaration is bereft of merit and the petitioners miserably (had) failed to overcome this onus,” he alleged.

Political issue

The martial law proclamation being a political issue was also raised during the hearing.

During interpellation, Associate Justice Noel Tijam asked Lagman if he voted for Duterte in last year’s election.

The opposition lawmaker refused to answer and invoked the sanctity of his vote, but admitted that he does not trust Duterte to use the martial law power reasonably and legally.

Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo-de Castro cited the possibility that the actions of the Maute group may have political motives.

“We are living in modern times. We cannot use the standard used many, many years ago… Terrorism now is being used to achieve a political objective,” she explained.

“I don’t think terrorists are sowing terror just for the sake of sowing terror. It could be that they are doing these to overthrow the duly constituted government.”

With the existence of that objective, De Castro said the Marawi attacks would fall under rebellion.

The three-day oral arguments continue today when Calida returns to the podium for more interpellation from the justices.

The SC had also required Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Eduardo Año and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to appear today for clarification on the factual basis of the martial law proclamation, which is the main issue raised by the petitioners.

‘Splitting hairs’

Meanwhile, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III scoffed at the arguments presented by the petitioners against Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao before the SC.

He said the petitioners were apparently splitting hairs in their arguments, particularly that there is no rebellion, but terrorism, in Marawi City.

Article VII, Section 1 of the Constitution states that the President may declare martial law in case of invasion or rebellion.

“Terrorism is not rebellion. That is correct. But why are they even discussing that?” Pimentel said.

“The martial law proclamation says that there is actual rebellion. So, what is their point in wasting time about terrorism?” he said.

Pimentel and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez were among the respondents named in the petitions asking the SC to compel Congress to hold a joint session to deliberate on Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao last May 23.

Pimentel expressed confidence the SC will respect Congress’ decision not to convene in joint session.

No ML extension to Visayas

Contrary to his previous pronouncements, Duterte will not extend martial law to the Visayas region amid the ongoing firefight between government troops and the terrorist group Maute in Marawi City.

Tourism assistant secretary and spokesman Ricky Alegre yesterday said in a press conference that Duterte told them last Friday that he would not extend martial law to the Visayas, which he considered “a major pronouncement, especially for tourism.”

“We’re very happy and we thank President Duterte that last Friday, he said, ‘We’re not going to extend martial law to Visayas.’ That is a major pronouncement,” Alegre said during the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay in Malate.

Alegre said that Duterte’s pronouncement would help reboot the tourism industry in Bohol, Cebu, Palawan and Boracay after some tourists had cancelled trips to the Philippines because of the alleged presence of the Abu Sayyaf.

Some foreign travelers have also cancelled their trips to the Philippines, particularly Mindanao, after Duterte declared martial law in the region. – With Paolo Romero, Robertzon Ramirez, Janie Cameron

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