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Lagman to SC: There’s no rebellion in Mindanao

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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman led the filing of a petition in the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the third extension of martial law in Mindanao, arguing that there’s no existing rebellion in the region that requires military rule.

In the 35-page filing, the Magnificent 7 lawmaker cited the “utter absence of sufficient factual and constitutional basis” for a third extension of martial law in Mindanao.

Lagman submitted his petition six other opposition representatives with the Supreme Court on February 4.

The petitioners in G.R. 243522 said that both President Duterte’s letter to the Congress dated December 6, 2018 initiating the extension and the military-police assessment reports failed to link violent incidents committed by local terrorist and communist groups to rebellion or furtherance of rebellion.

In fact, according to the petitioners, all reports of the military and police establishments failed to show that rebellion was committed in Mindanao during the second extension and no person was captured, arrested or indicted for rebellion during the period from January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.

They contended that “since rebellion does not exist or persist in Mindanao, the concurrent element of public safety requirement does not obtain.”

Lagman argued that Proclamation No. 216 could no longer be extended “because said proclamation has been rendered functus officio when the Marawi siege was crushed and the prime leaders of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups were killed.”

This led to President Rodrigo Duterte’s announcement on October 17, 2017 that Marawi has been liberated from terrorists and their influence.

“An inordinate prolongation of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao violates the clear constitutional intent for a limited duration of martial law and suspension of the writ or extension thereof,” Lagman said.