Supreme Court to rule in favour of martial law

  • Smoke billows from burning houses as fighting between government troops and Islamist militants continues in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on July 3, 2017. Islamist gunmen occupying a southern Philippine city still hold about 1,500 buildings after a six-week battle that has left hundreds of people dead, the government said on July 3. / AFP PHOTO / FERDINANDH CABRERA

The Supreme Court is poised to rule in favour of the government’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao, according to a report in The Manila Times on Monday.

Unimpeachable sources of The Times inside the high court said an overwhelming majority of the justices are set to dismiss all petitions questioning the legality of Proclamation 216 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on May 23, declaring martial law and suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

The high court is due to vote during the session on Tuesday.

The sources said Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo had circulated a well-crafted draft decision that cleared Duterte of charges that he abused his discretion when he signed the proclamation.

The sources said 10 to 14 justices are likely to vote to declare martial law valid and constitutional.  The only issue of contention is on territorial coverage because some of the justices believe that martial law should be limited in several areas.

In his draft decision, Del Castillo said the 1987 Constitution has enough safeguards to protect the people from possible martial law abuses.  It added that while the high court has the judicial power to review the sufficiency of the factual basis for the declaration of martial law or the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, such power does not extend to the calibration of the president’s decision in a given situation.

On Saturday, President Duterte threatened to jail critics of the martial law.  “We can talk of anything else and make compromises maybe but not when the interest of my country is at stake,” he said.

Supreme Court, vote in favour, legality of martial law.

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