By Genalyn Kabiling
The one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao has firm factual and legal basis, Malacañang defended on Friday after a third petition against the declaration was filed before the Supreme Court.
“We welcome the challenge but the two branches of government–the executive and the legislative–have already found factual and legal basis for the declaration of martial law,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said during a press conference in Bukidnon.
“The declaration of martial law, the extension for a year enjoys overwhelming presumption of constitutionality,” he added.
Nonetheless, Roque said they respect the petition against martial law extension as part of a right of any citizen under the Constitution.
Former Commission on Human Rights chair Loretta Ann Rosales has asked the Supreme Court to nullify the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao. Rosales, in a petition, said there was no longer basis to prolong martial law due to the absence of an actually innovation or rebellion.
President Duterte earlier asked Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao supposedly to eradicate Islamic State-inspired insurgents, communist terrorists and their coddlers.
Congress approved the President’s request in December, before the six-month extension expired.
Duterte first placed Mindanao under martial law in May after the Maute terror group, aided by foreign fighters, launched a deadly siege in Marawi City. The Marawi conflict ended after a five-month battle between government troops and the rebels.