Philippines' top court upholds Duterte's martial law

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Philippines' top court upholds Duterte's martial law

"Now, Martial Law can nearly arbitrarily be declared, and, in a sense, apparently putting us at the hands of a de facto military junta", he said, adding he expects "an emboldened military and police to commit more human rights violations and further endanger the lives of our people not just in Marawi but the whole of Mindanao".

Administration senators on Tuesday, July 4, welcomed the Supreme Court decision upholding the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

The court dismissed petitions filed by opposition lawmakers, leftist activists and a group of women from the conflict-torn city of Marawi, which had questioned Duterte's decision to place Mindanao under military rule, a court spokesman said. "Although martial law is not a political question and may be reviewed by the court, the court was right deferring to the judgment of the President", said Roque.

The president urged them to remain alert and steadfast until the objective of wiping out the terrorists has been achieved.

Calida noted that the magnitude and scope of the rebellion, and how it has endangered public safety in the entire Mindanao region, validated the need for the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

On May 23, Duterte declared martial law for 60 days on the island of Mindanao and nearby island provinces after extremists linked to Islamic State (IS) laid siege to Marawi City. A lone justice, meanwhile, voted to nullify the proclamation altogether.

"I'm afraid that this Supreme Court will go down in history as having paved the way for state repression against citizens in the name of a prolonged and expanded martial law based on nebulous and shifting grounds", he said. "Konsyensya Dabaw particularly salutes Associate Justice Marvic Leonen who dissented from the majority ruling" and Sereno, Carpio and Caguioa who voted to limit the coverage of martial law in Mindanao. Edcel Lagman, Tomasito Villarin, Gary Alejano, Emmanuel Bilones and Teddy Brawner Baguilat against Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Defense Secretary and Martial Law Administrator Delfin Lorenzana; Eufenia Campos Cullamat vs President Rodrigo, et al; and Norkaya Mohaamad vs Medialdea, et al. The police and military chiefs have expressed willingness to endorse an extension to ensure a secure environment when rehabilitation efforts begin.

In a separate statement, Duterte's chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the high court's ruling on martial law was not surprising as the President had complied with every constitutional requirement.

Mr. Calida said the SC's dismissal of the petitions is a "monumental decision", as it "underscores the existence of a real and present rebellion that threatens the lives of our fellow Filipinos in Mindanao, and their much-cherish liberties". He said the declaration provides an "exclamation point" to the government's fight against the terrorists.

Shortly after enacting martial law, Mr. Duterte sang the praises of Marcos' reign and promised that his own version of this exceptional regime would be "severe".

Clashes erupted in the city on May 23 after government troops attempted to arrest senior Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, said to be the Islamic State's anointed leader in Southeast Asia. The government says 303 terrorists have been killed to date, along with 82 government troops and 44 civilians.

Government forces are continuing to battle militants occupying Marawi with aerial bombardment and ferocious street-to-street combat that has left some 400 people dead and forced almost 400,000 people in the wider area to flee their homes.

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