Sol-Gen cites public safety in defending martial law to SC

Font Size

Solicitor General Jose C. Calida answers questions during a press briefing in this photo taken in Malacanang. -- VIA PHILSTAR/PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS

THE government’s top lawyer on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to deny the petitions assailing the extension of martial law in the whole of Mindanao, citing public safety as the basis for martial rule’s new extension of one year, as of December last year.

“Public safety requires the extension for one year,” Solicitor-General Jose C. Calida said in a statement, as he argued that “rebels are committing atrocities and causing civilian casualties.”

“The effect of martial law is obviously more than psychological as the perception of public safety heightened with increased military presence, unabated checkpoints, and undeterred offensives against rebels or terrorists,” he also said. “The actions of the military have, in effect, addressed the widespread fear and panic among peace-loving Filipinos in Mindanao.”

Mr. Calida argued further that there is no need to show the magnitude of the rebellion, and that placing the requirement of public safety on a scale, or even continuum, will not only prevent the application of the laws but undermine the Constitution.

He noted that since the high court already declared that there is rebellion in Mindanao, the onus lies on the petitioners to show that the rebellion has been completely quelled. “Since petitioners have not shown facts to the contrary, they cannot ask the Court to set aside the extension of the proclamation and suspension,” Mr. Calida said.

“It is not the place of the petitioners to dictate on the President which of the three Commander-in-Chief powers is most appropriate in dealing with the ongoing rebellion,” he added.