Supreme Court ‘Aiding And Abetting’ Martial Law In Mindanao?

IMG_2457Okay, okay. Before you start reacting, let me just say that I’m being sarcastic. But let me explain my premise.

Many of us know that Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao following the Marawi City siege has been  — to the letter — in according with the 1987 Constitution.  As required by law, Duterte submitted his report to Congress within the 48-hour period as required by law.

It behooves upon Congress to review the basis for Martial Law and is mandated to vote jointly to invalidate the declaration if it so sees fit.  Despite criticism on how Congress went through this process, it was, nevertheless also in accordance with the Constitution.  Both houses of Congress passed resolutions practically supporting Duterte’s action.  The lawmakers did not need to meet in joint session to vote.  They didn’t have anything to vote on because there was not enough opposition to invalidate the declaration.

Now, let’s turn to the Supreme Court.  Under the same Constitution, the high tribunal has the power to review the Martial Law declaration, the Congress’ action notwithstanding.

Several petitions – by Edcel Lagman, et. al.,  were filed before the Court to render its opinion on the factual basis of Martial Law.  It was to render a decision within 30 days from the filing of the petitions.

The Court has announced that it will vote on the petition on July 4. While the date is well within the 30-day period in which it was to render a decision, it is, nevertheless 42 days since Martial Law was declared.  Let me say that again — 42 of the 60 days prescribed by law.

So granting that the high court votes to declare Martial Law in Mindanao illegal, Duterte’s declaration would already have survived a greater portion of that 60-day period.

And as many law experts will say, the court’s ruling will apply only to this current state of Martial Law in Mindanao.

Duterte could always issue a new, separate proclamation.  And that means, the 60-day period resets and a new round of process and petitions kicks in.

Sometimes, constitutional safeguards are anything but…




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