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Opposition solons to file plea vs extension of ML

by Charissa L. Atienza and Genalyn D. Kabiling

A petition questioning the legality of the five-month extension of martial law in Mindanao will be filed this week before the Supreme Court, an opposition congressman said yesterday.

Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman said they will file the petition against the extension of President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 216, insisting that there is no sufficient factual basis for any extension, and what happened in Marawi City is a lawless violence and not actual rebellion.

“Well, we will file the petition as soon as possible. I think, by next week it will be filed before the Supreme Court,” he said in a radio interview.

Lagman, who is among the 14 House members who voted against the martial law extension, said the 150-day extension is “too long” and is against the intent of the Constitution.

He explained that while the Constitution does not provide for the duration of the extension, the discretion of the Congress in fixing the period of the extension is not absolute.

“The Congress must be guided by the constitutional precept that any declaration of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus or its extension must only be for a limited period like the original proclamation which is limited to only 60 days,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang is optimistic that the SC will uphold the constitutionality of the martial law extension amid plans of four lawmakers to question the decision.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said they respect the prerogative of persons to file a petition before the court but cited a previous SC decision asserting the validity of martial law when it was first declared last May.

“Karapatan naman nila iyon na kumontra sa ibang batas at sa hukuman pero tingnan natin kung anong desisyon ng Korte Suprema,” Andanar said in a radio interview.

“Wala namang pinagkaiba iyon doon sa deklarasyon ng martial law na dinala din sa Korte Suprema pero kalaunan ay pati Korte Suprema ay nakiisa din sa lahat so it is part of our system of democracy,” he said.