Top officials ordered to comment on petition seeking to halt martial law extension in Mindanao

Font Size

Armored personnel carriers drive down a village road in Marawi, on the southern island of Mindanao on June 4, 2017. — AFP

THE Philippines’ high tribunal ordered top government officials and lawmakers to comment on a petition seeking to stop the re-extension of martial law in Mindanao “within 10 days.”

This developed on Friday after the Supreme Court found the petition — filed by opposition lawmakers — “sufficient in form and substance.”

“Considering the allegations contained, the issues raised and the arguments adduced in the petition, it is necessary and proper, without giving due course to the petition, to require the respondents to comment on the petition and prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction,” the Supreme Court said in the order.

Named as respondents were Senate President Aquilino Martin Pimentel L. Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Rey Leonardo Guerrero.

The petition was filed by Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, Akbayan party-list Rep. Tomasito S. Villarin, Caloocan Rep. Edgar R. Erice, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, Jr., Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary C. Alejano and Capiz Rep. Emmanuel A. Billones last Wednesday, Dec. 27.

The petitioners cited that “there is no actual rebellion in Mindanao and the re-extension is extremely long even as the approval was made with undue haste and unscrupulous imprudence.”

On Dec. 13, the Congress voted 240-27 in joint session to allow the extension of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018. — Minde Nyl R. Dela Cruz