MANILA, Philippines — One of the lawyers for petitioners challenging martial law in Mindanao said Solicitor General Jose Calida was apparently “inventing” reasons to justify the proclamation of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares, who is chairman of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, interviewed on Aksyon sa Umaga, also voiced confidence that the Supreme Court would grant the petitions to nullify Proclamation No. 216 for lack of factual basis.
The NUPL represents the Makabayan bloc of lawmakers, who along with lumad and other sectoral organizations from Mindanao, filed one of the three petitions seeking to nullify the martial law proclamation. The high court began oral arguments on the petitions Tuesday.
Two other petitions have also been filed asking the tribunal to compel Congress to convene in joint session to debate and vote on martial law.
Colmenares noted that while Proclamation 216 placed the whole of Mindanao under martial law, it cites data only on the events in Marawi City, where government forces continue to battle extremist gunmen three weeks after hostilities broke out on May 23.
The only mention about other parts of Mindanao, he said, cites the Marawi crisis as proof of the “capacity of other rebel groups” to do the same elsewhere on the island.
However, Colmenares said, capacity is not among the grounds laid down by the Constitution for martial law.
Worse, he said, Calida cited the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Moro National Liberation Front and New People’s Army as the “other rebel groups” that are also targets of martial law.
“Akala ko niyaya niyo ang NPA at MILF na tumulong sa inyo, sila pala ‘yung target niyo (I thought you were inviting the NPA and MILF to help you, it turns out they are your targets),” he said.
WATCH THE INTERVIEW ON AKSYON SA UMAGA: