• Fariñas backs extended martial law in Mindanao

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    A staunch ally of President Rodrigo Duterte at the House of Repesentatives said he was in favor of extending martial law in Mindanao.

    Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte, a key ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, is in favor of extending the President’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

    “The Congress and the Supreme Court have both determined that the proclamation of Martial Law in Mindanao by the President is proper. If the President requests Congress to extend his proclamation or suspension on the ground that the rebellion is still persisting and public safety requires it, I shall support him,” Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, a lawyer, said in a statement.

    Fariñas reaction comes after the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of President Duterte’s Proclamation 216 declaring martial law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus (allowing warrantless arrest) in Mindanao as a result of the ongoing Marawi City crisis triggered by the terrorist Maute group.

    “President Duterte has shown that he is true to his oath to support and defend the Constitution, and our people continue to express their trust and confidence in him. We should all support him, as well as the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and all government authorities, in alleviating the suffering of our people in Mindanao,” Fariñas added.

    Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay, one of the petitioners against the declaration of martial law, called the Supreme Court decision flawed because the ruling granted Duterte the discretion to determine the territorial coverage of martial law just because it is the President who is supposed to have the arsenal of intelligence information to warrant such a declaration.

    “The ruling [giving the President too much leeway]virtually closes the door for the Supreme Court to fully review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the President’s exercise of extreme emergency powers. The majority decision even went to the extent of pronouncing that the territorial coverage of martial law is subject to the President’s discretion, thus paving the way for an expanded territorial ambit of a martial law declaration,” Lagman said in a statement.

    “After perusing the ponencia or the majority decision of the Supreme Court upholding the declaration of martial law in the whole of Mindanao, the opposition congressmen-petitioners have resolved to contest the ruling in a motion for reconsideration. Serious errors in the majority decision will be exposed and expounded in the motion for reconsideration,” Lagman added.

    Under Section 18, Article 7 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court is mandated to review the sufficiency of the factual basis for the imposition of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

    “The majority decision proceeded to emphasize that “the purpose of judicial review is not the determination of accuracy or veracity of the facts upon which the President anchored his declaration of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. If this is so, how can inaccurate or false facts satisfy the quantum of sufficiency?” Lagman said.

    “The decision further said that the President “is expected to decide quickly on whether there is need to proclaim martial law even only on the basis of intelligence reports, it is irrelevant, for purposes of the Court’s review, if subsequent events prove that the situation had not been accurately reported to him. If the facts reported to the President are not accurate, then the sufficiency of the factual basis is eroded,” Lagman added.

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