MANILA – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday expressed confidence that any fresh petition before the courts questioning the extension of martial law in Mindanao will be unsuccessful.
"For as long as the government can clearly show that there is factual basis for the further effectivity of martial law, I guess that petition [that will be filed] is bound to fail," Guevarra told newsmen.
The DOJ chief noted that the government has explained all necessary facts justifying the measure.
"So, I suppose the Supreme Court will have to bank on the same set of facts already laid before Congress before they overwhelmingly voted to extend the effectivity of martial law in Mindanao for another year. If the government would find that the factual basis for martial law in 2019 has ceased to exist by let's say June or July of next year Congress has all the power to cut short the effectivity," he added.
Opposition solons earlier said they will question the validity of the third martial law extension before the Supreme Court .
In a joint session on Dec. 12, the Senate and the House of Representatives for the third time granted President Rodrigo Duterte's request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao for a period of one year, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019.
Last year, the SC turned down appeals against its ruling on the declaration of martial law in Mindanao in a suit filed by opposition lawmakers and Mindanao residents.
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017, after Maute terrorists attacked Marawi City.
On July 22, 2017, the 60-day period lapsed, and Congress approved a request from the President to extend martial law until the end of the 2017.
In another joint session on Dec. 13, 2017, lawmakers approved the President's request for a year-long extension of martial law in the region until the end of 2018. (PNA)
Photo by Toto Lozano/Presidential Photo/Philstar