Lawmakers to question martial law extension before Supreme Court

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Fourteen congressmen who voted against the extension of martial law until December 31 will file a petition before the Supreme Court.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 23) — Opposition lawmakers are not giving up the fight and are taking legal action against the congressional decision extending martial law in Mindanao.

Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin said, "Unang-una, yung Kongreso while vested with the powers to extend ML wala naman hong ginagrant na extra powers kay Pangulo, at hindi ho yan nakakatulong to counter terrorism. Pangalawa, itong ML should be 60 days because that's the constitutional restriction. Walang nakalagay na ang Kongreso ay magbigay ng extension whether indefinite or beyond 60 days."

[Translation: Firstly, Congress – while vested with the powers to extend ML – has not granted the President any extra powers, and that does not help to counter terrorism. Second, ML should be 60 days because that's the constitutional restriction. There is nothing that says Congress should give an extension whether indefinite or beyond 60 days.]

Villarin says they will file a petition before the Supreme Court either this week or next week.

While talks of political and military repercussions on the extension of the martial law persist, there are concerns of human rights abuses under an extended martial rule.

READ: Congress grants Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao until end of year

During the interpellation, Senator Grace Poe raised supposed human rights abuses during the 60-day martial law.

Commission on Human Rights Chairman Chito Gascon says his office has been receiving numerous complaints of rights abuses.

Samira Gutoc, convenor of the Ranao Rescue Team, was emotional sharing the difficulties of evacuees. She said children are getting sick and women abused.

RELATED: Maranao turns emotional as she cites human rights violations in Marawi

Some lawmakers wanted to make sure the martial law extension will benefit affected residents who consider themselves the real victims.

Opposition lawmakers say there should be a balance between stabilizing security in Mindanao and showing sensitivity to the plight of the evacuees.

Four members of the opposition – Senators Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, Kiko Pangilinan, and Franklin Drilon – voted against the extension of martial law.

Drilon, who is also the Senate Minority Leader, doubts if there is actual rebellion or invasion.

He said, "The factual basis for a continued martial rule in Mindanao and an extension till December 31, 2017 does not meet the requirements of the Constitution."

1st Lt. Ken Fagyan, who fought in Marawi, spoke in behalf of the soldiers.

The 29-year old frontliner talked about how they brave the war, their real challanges on the ground, including the lack of time to eat and sleep. He shared how soldiers felt about how their lives are always at stake when they are in the frontlines.

WATCH: Wounded soldier shares experience in Marawi battlefield

He appealed to people, saying "Sa publiko, sana suportahan niyo kami, kasi mga sundalo mababaw lang kaligayahan namin. Kung may simple bagay kayong binibigay sa amin, nakaka-high morale, pero pag may mga salita against sa amin – which is hindi naman totoo – mas lalo kaming mahirapan."

[Translation: To the public, we ask that you support us because it's easy to keep the troops happy. Giving us simple things boosts our morale, but when people talk badly about us – which is not true – it becomes more difficult for us.]

After the special joint session, lawmakers will  convene in a special session on July 24 to hear the second State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Lorenzana: Armed forces will protect the public

In a statement released Sunday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said troops would prove themselves worthy of the people's trust following the decision to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of the year.

"Makaaasa ang sambayanan na hindi namin sasayangin ang tiwalang ito. Gagampanan ng ating Hukbong Sandatahan ang pagtatanggol sa bayan at mga mamamayan nang buong katapatan," he said.

[Translation: You can rely that we will not waste the trust you have given us. The Armed Forces will protect the country and its people with conviction.]

He added, "Your defense department will strive even more to deal with the rebellion decisively and expeditiously."

Adiong: We must continue to concentrate on the people

Zia Alonto Adiong, head of the Marawi Crisis Management Committee, released a statement Saturday saying he hopes today's decision on the extension of martial law in Mindanao "will accelerate the rehabilitation plan for Marawi City and Lanao del Sur."

He says this will help dispel people's fears and apprehensions about the extension.

"Since the government is confident that they can defeat the Maute Group and end this crisis within days, there must now be a paradigm shift to focus more on the concerns of our IDPs [internally displaced persons]," he said.

Alonto said the concerns of people who are suffering due to the Marawi crisis must not be a "secondary concern" next to security efforts.

He added, "The extended martial law must not mean extended displacement of our people."

Lawmakers: Still no sufficient reason for martial law in Mindanao

Some lawmakers opposing martial law in Mindanao gave their reasons behind their vote during Saturday's special joint session.

Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat said accepting "extreme authoritarian measures" to combat "banditry, drug menace, terrorist threats and even a communist movement under the general ambit of rebellion" is a dangerous move as it could mean the expansion of martial law outside of Mindanao.

He said, "Dati naman natin nilalabanan ito ng walang ML. Hindi sapat yung paliwanag na makakapagdulot ang ML ng karagdagan na kakayahan sa AFP na sugpuin ang mga Maute."

[Translation: We have fought against this before even without ML (martial law). It is not enough reason to say that ML will give the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) more skills to beat the Maute.]

Albay Representative Edcel Lagman says, "What is happening in Marawi City is lawless violence amounting to terrorism, but not actual rebellion. The President and his subalterns failed to sufficiently show the element of culpable political purpose of the terrorist groups."

CNN Philippines' Pia Garcia contributed to this story.