June 9, 2017
Saying there were no incidents similar to that happening in Marawi simultaneously occurring in the rest of the twenty seven (27) cities and four hundred twenty two (422) municipalities of Mindanao, Mindanao activists and human rights advocates today filed a petiton before the Supreme Court against Martial Law in the entire Mindanao.
The petitioners include 5 local Mindanao leaders namely Lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat, peasant leader Virgilio T. Lincuna of KMP, Ateliana U. Hijos of Gabriela, trade union leaders Roland A. Cobrado, Carl Anthony D. Olalo and union leader Roy Jim Balanghig of the striking Shin Sun Tropical Fruits Inc. whose picket line was broken up by the PNP last June 2, after Martial Law was declared.
They were joined by leaders of various human rights and activist organizations and partylist groups; Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, Jr., Karapatan Secretary General Cristina E. Palabay, SELDA Chair Marie H. Enriquez, Act Teachers’ Representative Antonio L. Tinio, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene D. Brosas, Kabataan Party-List Representative Sarah Jane I. Elago, artists Mae Paner, Gabriela Krista Dalena and Anna Isabelle Estein, NUSP spokesman Mark Vincent D. Lim, Anakbayan chair Vencer Mari Crisostomo and Gabriela deputy secretary general Jovita Montes.
They are represented by the National Union of People’s Lawyers through attorneys Neri Colmeneras, Edre Olalia, Julian Oliva, Ephraim Cortez, Ma. Cristina Yambot, Maneeka Sarza, Josalee Deinla and Katherine Panguban.
Respondents in the petition include President Rodrigo Duterte, Executive Secretary Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-Staff Lt. General Eduardo Ano and Philippine National Police Director-General Ronaldo Dela Rosa.
Petitioners argue that the imposition of Proclamation No. 216 in the entire Mindanao is unwarranted, unjustifiable, and wholly out of proportion to the threat posed by the Maute and Abu Sayaff groups because aside from the violence in Marawi, Respondents failed to prove sufficient factual basis that rebellion or at the very least incidents similar to that in Marawi are simultaneously occurring in other parts of the island.
The groups also raised questions on the factual basis of Martial Law saying that “the insertion of the words “other rebel groups” in Proclamation No. 216 is dangerously vague and unsubstantiated”, with Respondents failing to cite who these groups are and the activities they are undertaking which constitute rebellion.
“Presuming without conceding that there exists actual rebellion in the entire Mindanao, Respondents failed to provide sufficient factual basis that such rebellion has reached an extent that public safety requires the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,” the Petitioners said.
Petitioners also claimed that Martial Law in Mindanao endangers the peace process being undertaken by the government with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Citing reports from Karapatan, the imposition of Martial Law has also caused human rights violations, aerial bombings and intensified military operations even in areas far from Marawi.
The first SC petition by Mindanao leaders also asked the SC that their lawyers be allowed to partiicpate in the oral arguments set on June 13-15. ###