Former Human Rights Chairperson Loretta Ann "Etta" Rosales on Friday filed the third and newest petition before the Supreme Court seeking to nullify the full-year extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
Rosales argued that "a$3 bsent an actual invasion or rebellion, there can be no sufficient factual basis for the continued imposition of martial law in Mindanao". Three petitions were lodged before the SC a year ago to challenge the proclamation's factual basis but 11 justices voted the declaration was constitutional.
There's no more fighting in Marawi.
"In the language of the Constitution, the goal of using military force is to "prevent or suppress" activities of the enemies of the State", the petition read.
He stressed that the SC could not issue a TRO as prayed by petitioners because such injunctive relief would unduly interfere with the congressional power to extend the declaration of martial law by the President.
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Rosales' counsel, former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, said that while the police and military's recommendation for the "continued use of police and military force over enemies of the state" is valid, it did not justify the continued imposition of martial rule. "Moreover, it mistakes the distinction between the need for military force which is effected through the use of the calling out powers of the President, on one hand, and the need for imposing martial law on the civilian population, on the other", the petition stated.
On May 23, Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao after the principal Islamic city of Marawi was stormed by heavily armed, homegrown extremists who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS) terrorists.
Rosales' petition stressed martial law can not be imposed or extended "for preventive reasons".
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In his letter to Congress, Duterte cited continuing threats of IS-inspired terrorists, adding that those who escaped the Marawi battle were actively recruiting and radicalizing those displaced by the fighting.
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"Clearly, this is not the theater of war envisioned by the framers".
"The declaration of martial law, the extension for a year enjoys overwhelming presumption of constitutionality, given that both the executive and the legislative branches of government have found both legal and factual basis for the declaration of martial law", he added.
He pointed out that martial law can neither be declared for preventive reasons nor be used to quell the threat of an impending invasion of rebellion.
Nonetheless, Roque said they respect the petition against martial law extension as part of a right of any citizen under the Constitution. Magistrates will tackle the two petitions filed separately by opposition congressmen led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and human rights lawyers and militant lawmakers including Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate and Gabriela partylist Rep. Emmie de Jesus.
The SC is set to hold two days of oral arguments on the two consolidated petitions against the extension of martial law next week, January 16 and 17.
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