Lagman on martial law extension: Where’s the invasion or rebellion?

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Albay first-district Rep. Edcel Lagman said the proposal to extend martial law in Mindanao “is constitutionally infirm both as to grounds and duration.”

He said that under the Philippine Constitution, martial law can only be declared and its extension authorized in “case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it”.

“There is neither actual invasion or rebellion in Mindanao after Marawi City was declared by President Rodrigo Duterte as liberated from rebel and terrorist forces almost two (2) months ago,” the Magnificent 7 lawmaker said.

“Even the Philippine Nation Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) admit only the existence of threats from remnants of terrorist groups who are reportedly recruiting fighters and regrouping to exact ‘vengeance’ against government forces,” Lagman said.

“The Constitution envisions a short duration of martial law. The initial declaration must not exceed 60 days, and its extension is subject to the same constraints,” he said.

“An extension of one (1) year as proposed by the police and military establishments constitutes ‘perpetuity’ which defies the Constitution. Safeguards against martial law and its extension are enshrined in the Constitution to protect civil liberties and preserve the rule of law,” Lagman said.