Extension of martial law in Mindanao
LATEST UPDATE: February 19, 2019 - 1:00pm
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February 19, 2019

The Supreme Court once again sides with the Duterte administration in upholding the third extension of martial law in Mindanao, junking four consolidated petitions from lawyers, human rights workers and residents.

January 8, 2019

The Supreme Court has set oral arguments on January 22 and 23 on a petition questioning the constitutionality and factual basis of the third extension of martial law.

Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay) and other members of the so-called Magnificent 7 bloc at the House of Representatives filed a petition last week against the extension of martial law until the end of 2019. Lagman has said there is no factual basis for the extension since no rebellion exists. 

He says the Armed Forces of the Philippines can address terrorism and lawless violence in Mindanao without martial law, which was meant as a temporary solution. Mindanao has been under martial law since May 2017.

January 7, 2019

Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay), one of the petitioners against the third extension of martial law in Mindanao, is hopeful that the Supreme Court will have a different appreciation of the factual basis for it as martial law approaches its second year.

"In the first place, this new extension of one year, it has been almost two years since the siege of Marawi, which the president said is over," he says in Filipino over Radyo5. "Marawi has been liberated and the supposed principal leaders of the terrorist groups are dead."

He again raises a military intelligence report saying nobody was arrested or charged with rebellion in 2017. Rebellion is one of the justifications for martial law in the 1987 Constitution and a supposedly continuing rebellion is the basis for the extension of martial law until the end of 2019. 

He adds that almost 60 percent of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has been deployed to Mindanao against nearly 900 local terrorists.

Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP public affairs office chief, on the same Radyo5 show, says however, that threat groups still exist.

"The main groups are those aligned with [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria], the Maute, remnants of Ansar Al-Khilafah Philippines... the New People's Army, which the government has been ooperating against for a long time," he says.

He adds authorities in General Santos City were able to arrest people for illegall posession of firearms and for illegal possession of drugs last week.

January 6, 2019

Moro activist group Suara Bangsamoro says it welcomes the petition against the third extension of martial law in Mindanao "for we believe that the extension is not only unconstitutional but also foments violence and state terror against our people in Mindanao." 

"President Duterte's tyranny in Mindanao has caused alarming cases of human rights abuses and worsening economic conditions. Mindanaons' disapproval of his fascist measures is reflected in the drop in his trust ratings in Mindanao based on a SWS survey conducted in December 2018 coinciding with the hearing of the extension of martial law," the group also says. 

The group, which claims that there have been rights violations in the government's implementation of martial law, says: "In the coming 2019 midterm elections, Mindanaoans' protest against martial law will be expressed by not voting for candidates who favored the third extension of martial law in Mindanao."

December 12, 2018

Voting 235-28-1, the 17th Congress approved President Rodrigo Duterte’s request for the extension of martial in Mindanao for another year up to the end of 2019.

December 12, 2018

Voting 12-5-1, senators approve to extend the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the extension of the suspension of habeas corpus until the end of 2019, siding with President Rodrigo Duterte's request.

December 12, 2018

At the joint session of Congress on President Duterte's request to extend martial law in Mindanao, Sen. Chiz Escudero makes an impassioned argument that martial law "cannot be the new normal" for Mindanao.

He argues that Mindanao has achieved economic growth and maintenance of peace and order in the area and it can do so without martial law.

Legally speaking, there is no difference to what the military and police can do with or without martial law. Maintaining peace and order, sustaining the economy and clamor of local government are not constitutional justifications for the extension of martial law.

December 7, 2018

Majority Floor Leader Miguel Zubiri announces a security briefing for senators on Monday after President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress for an extension to the proclamation of martial law in Mindanao.

"Please be informed that there will be a roll call of all members of the Senate upon the resumption of Session on Monday, 10 December 2018 at 10 o'clock in the morning. Right after the roll call, there will be a security briefing on the proposed Martial Law Extension."

December 7, 2018

One more time. President Rodrigo Duterte requested Congress to grant another extension for martial law in Mindanao, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea says.

Rule by the military in the Philippines' southern island has been in effect since May 23, 2017. This is the third time Duterte's administration is requesting Congress to approve of the proclamation.

December 4, 2018

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon opposes the possible extension of martial law in Mindanao, saying there is no basis for it and that it would be unconstitutional.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has indicated that it will recommend the extention of martial law beyond December 31, citing threats of terrorism and support from local government officials.

"I may sound like a broken record but for the nth time, I would repeat: there is no actual rebellion. Rebellion no longer persists in Mindanao," Drilon says, adding "there may be threats of rebellion, but what the Constitution clearly requires as a ground for declaring and extending martial law is the presence of actual rebellion."

Last month, a lawmaker from Iligan filed a resolution urging maintaining martial law until after the midterm elections because "the masterminds and perpetrators of lawless violence either do not want the elections to happen or they [want to] prevent some candidates from getting elected into office."

That is not among the grounds for martial law allowed by the constitution.

"Let us not normalize martial law. Instead, let us help bring back normalcy in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Mindanao," Drilon says.

The Supreme Court has twice upheld martial law in Mindanao, saying in February when it upheld the extension until the end of 2018 that there was "sufficient factual bases to extend the Proclamation 216, as the rebellion that spawned the Marawi incident persists and public safety requires the extension."

November 19, 2018

Rep. Frederick Siao (Iligan City) has filed a resolution urging President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in Mindanao for another six months after the already extended decaration lapses on December 31.

He says an extension is needed to "ensure peace, orderly, and honest May 2019 elections in Mindanao, including and especially in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and adjacent regions, to secure the integrity of the ballots and safety of voters and elections personnel and to ensure that the duly-elected officials are installed."

He adds "[a]fter the elected officials assume office, the martial law can end and the Philippine National Police can reassume peace and order responsibilities in Mindanao and with the civilian elected officials by their side."

Elections are not among the justifications for martial law allowed by the 1987 Constitution.

November 13, 2018

Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, will recommend another extension of martial law in Mindanao after consultations with local officials, he says on a visit to Zamboanga City.

"We were shown the sentiments of the different provincial governos and majority said they wanted martial law stay in the whole of Mindanao," Galvez says.

He adds: "We will bring this up to the president."

November 6, 2018

Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año says he is in favor of extending martial law in Mindanao beyond December 31.

"Nakita naman natin na walang abuses na ginagawa ang mga military at police," he says despite allegations from human rights groups and activist organizations.

He claims law-abiding citizens are not affected by martial law, which has been in force in Mindanao since May 2017. "For the lawless elements, private armed groups, for the terrorists, takot na takot sila sa martial law."

The Armed Forces has yet to come up with a position on whether martial law in Mindanao, which is supposed to be lifted by the end of December 31, should be extended.

Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, says the military is still working with different local government units, and the mayors and governors in the southern region of the Philippines, to get a consensus from Mindanao residents. 

He says groups and residents from areas that are run poorly by their LGUs have told the military they support an extension since this would make sure local politicians focus on their jobs.

"They cannot just go outside their towns because they have to report to their military administrators. Otherwise, we will again experience a problem of absenteeism by the local heads," Col. Noel Detoyato, AFP public affairs chief, also says.

The Philippine National Police said last week that it would support calls to extend martial law, which has already been extended once, "[i]f the president or the government is inclined to extend it. "

Martial law in Mindanao has been welcomed by business groups and residents, who say the tighter security is good for business.

Human rights groups and activist groups, however, have been calling for martial law to be lifted, citing alleged rights abuses against and extrajudicial killings of civilians since it was declared in May 2017 in response to a terrorist siege on Marawi City in Lanao del Norte. 

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