By Roy Mabasa
Those who are opposing the extension of martial law in Mindanao are free to question the issue before the Supreme Court, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday.
In a press briefing, Roque expressed confidence that the High Court would again uphold the Palace position on martial law as it has done on two previous occasions.
“In any case, they are free to challenge martial law anew in the Supreme Court. But please note that there’s been two challenges and in both instances, the Palace has been upheld,” Roque said.
Roque was reacting to statements made by some critics questioning the legality and necessity for a one-year extension on the validity of martial law in Mindanao.
The Palace spokesman rebuffed Rep. Edcel Lagman’s claim that one of the reasons cited by President Duterte in requesting Congress to extend martial law constitutes “imminent danger,” a ground that the solon claimed was already abolished under the 1987 Constitution.
“He (Lagman) has filed two petitions in the Supreme Court challenging the two earlier declarations of martial law, in both instances, his petitions were denied,” Roque said.
Roque added that Lagman is again welcome to question the latest request for extension made by Duterte. “I’m confident that the government can justify martial law anew in the Supreme Court.”
The solon from Bicol was also quoted as saying that the “extension of the extension” is contrary to the 1987 Constitution as far as martial law is concerned, which reportedly intend to last for only 60 days.
“Well again, that’s his view. I’m sure he will question it anew in the Supreme Court and I’m sure we can defend the government position in the Supreme Court again,” Roque said.
He said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and the Armed Forces of the Philippines together with the Philippine National Police have already made recommendations that they needed one year to accomplish their mission in Mindanao.
“Well, we are relying on what the commanders and the troops are saying, and these commanders and troops are on the ground. We’re not in a position to second-guess them,” Roque said.