MANILA, Philippines — Voting 10-5, the Supreme Court has upheld the yearlong extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Announcing the decision Tuesday, February 6, high court spokesman Theodore Te said the tribunal found “sufficient factual basis” to uphold Joint Resolution No. 4 of Congress, which overwhelmingly granted President Rodrigo Duterte’s request for the yearlong extension, the second.
Duterte first declared martial law over the south for 60 days on May 23, after fighting broke out in Marawi City between government forces and extremist gunmen. When this period lapse, he sought and got Congress’ nod for an extension until the end of 2017.
But despite declaring Marawi “liberated” in mid-October, Duterte, on the recommendation of the military and police, sought and got the yearlong extension, which he said was needed to address other threats, including communist rebels with whom he had broken off peace talks.
The move was questioned by four petitions filed by the minority bloc in the House of Representatives, human rights advocates, former Commission on Human Rights chair Loretta Ann Rosales, and former Commission on Elections chairman Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution.
Te said the majority opinion was penned by Associate Justice Noel G. Tijam.
The dissenting votes were cast by Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza and Benjamin Caguioa.