OSG: SC decision on martial law proves existence of rebellion in Mindanao

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 4) —  The Supreme Court's ruling to declare martial law constitutional supports the existence of rebellion in Mindanao, Solicitor General Jose Calida said on Tuesday.

Calida, who represented the government's side during the June 14 oral arguments, said the high court's decision validating President Rodrigo Duterte's Proclamation No. 216 is in line with the President's goals of "protecting the country's sovereingty and territorial integrity".

"I am grateful to the magistrates of the Honorable Supreme Court for allowing President Duterte to perform his prime duty of protecting the Filipino people. As the conscience of our nation, the Supreme Court did not sit idly to watch our country get dismembered." Calida said in a statement.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella also said in a statement that SC's ruling reaffirms that the government "stands together as one against a common enemy." Abella was referring to the Maute group allegedly trying to set up a caliphate in Mindanao of the Islamic State group.

"[The President] will not waver in his commitment to end rebellion, the evil of terrorism and to liberate Marawi. With the Supreme Court decision, the whole government now stands together as one against a common enemy," Abella said.

Martial law implementor and Armed Forces Chief-of Staff Eduardo Año said  the military appreciates the high court's "favorable" ruling.

"The AFP takes this as a vote of confidence that we are doing what is right and what is necessary for the restoration of the rule of law, peace and order in the whole island. We remain committed to our mandate to protect our people and the integrity and sovereignty of our country," Año said in a statement.

The Supreme Court justices, 11-3-1, voted in favor of declaring martial law in the entire southern region as constitutional.

Read: Supreme Court upholds martial law in Mindanao

Calida previously said during the oral arguments there is sufficient basis for the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

"All elements of rebellion were present. There is actual rebellion (on) the streets of Marawi....The goal is to take over the Philippine territory," he said.

Petitioners: SC decision hyped by fear

Petitioner Florin Hilbay said in a tweet Tuesday that details of the President's declaration would have been better investigated in Congress.

Hilbay, a former solicitor general, said the high court's decision reinforces the importance of a joint session in Congress to discuss the declaration.

 

Petitioner and opposition lawmaker Tom Villarin said in a text message Tuesday that the high court's decision was "hyped" by fear.

"It is a decision hyped by fear and insecurity as laid to the Court after the fact. By broadening factual basis post-facto, it puts back the 'imminent danger' principle into the equation," Villarin said.

Villarin was part of the petitioning group led by Albay Representative Edcel Lagman seeking to revoke Duterte's declaration of military rule.

The petitioners needed at least eight votes from the Supreme Court to nullify the martial law  proclamation in Mindanao.

After the high court's ruling, they may file for a motion for reconsideration, before the court decides with finality.

This story was updated on July 4, 2017, 4:42 p.m. to include a statement from AFP Chief-of-Staff Eduardo Año.