Independent bloc congressmen who challenged the validity of the year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao are up in arms after the Supreme Court (SC) thrashed their petitions Tuesday via 10-5 vote.
“When the majority of the justices of the Supreme Court fall in cadence with the President and the Congress in violating the Constitution, then the country is abandoned in the quagmire of tripartite derogation of the people’s civil liberties,” said Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a member of the Magnificent Seven.
“The Supreme Court verdict will embolden President Rodrigo Duterte in flaunting the rule of law because he can seek refuge behind the robes of majority of the Supreme Court justices,” claimed Lagman, a veteran lawyer and lawmaker.
Just as aghast with the High Tribunal’s upholding of the effectivity of military rule in Mindanao are Makabayan stalwarts Reps Antonio Tinio and France Castro, both nominees of ACT-Teachers Party-List.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the Supreme Court decision to uphold the extension of martial law in Mindanao,” Tinio said.
“Martial law only brings destruction and more human rights violations in Mindanao. Extending martial law will only bring greater devastation and the continuing rise of human rights violations. The number of internally displaced families will rise,” he predicted.
Pointing to the SC’s favorable ruling on the extension, Castro said that the nationwide declaration martial law seems imminent.
“We also warn against the expansion of martial law nationwide. They are now laying the predicate for military rule over the entire country, raising conspiracy theories and fake news of destabilization plots,” Castro said.
“We should be vigilant with the recent attacks against activists and human rights defenders as these attacks may be used as an excuse to expand martial law,” she said.
Lagman, Tinio, and Castro were among those who petitioned against martial law extension in Mindanao from January 1 to December 31, 2018 before the SC. They were joined by former Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales and a group led by Christian Monsod, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution.
The Magnificent Seven and the Makabayan bloc neither belong to the Majority or Minority in the House of Representatives.
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