Calida: There is a legal possibility for nationwide martial law
MANILA, Philippines — Solicitor General Jose Calida said that there remains a legal possibility for President Rodrigo Duterte to place the Philippines under martial law.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, during his interpellation of Calida, pressed the government counsel on the “possibility” of declaring martial law over the Philippines.
Calida appeared before the SC to defend the government on the justification of Duterte’s year-long extension of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
Four petitions were lodged before the SC to challenge the sufficiency of the factual basis of Duterte’s request.
Carpio pointed out that one of the grounds cited by Duterte in his letter request for extension was the ongoing recruitment of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Mindanao.
The senior justice raised that if there CPP-NPA can operate nationwide, can Duterte declare martial law in entire Philippines?
Calida said that “there is no necessity” for such measure.
The justice pressed that rebellion is classified as a continuing crime. Calida answered in affirmative.
“[L]egally, president can declare martial law throughout the Philippines because there is an ongoing rebellion nationwide,” Carpio raised.
Calida pointed out that Duterte did not, and added that there is an accompanying requisite in the Constitution that martial law may be declared when public safety requires it.
Carpio continued to press: “Is the first condition satisfied today? There is an actual CPP rebellion nationwide today?”
Calida replied: “The first condition is complied with, your honor.”
But he conceded that while he believes that Duterte will not place the entire Philippines under martial law, “in the realm of possibilities, it is possible.”
The petitioners earlier raised that including the CPP-NPA recruitment in the justification for martial law extension “opens floodgates” for attacks against any individual.
“Historical and contemporary experience indubitably prove that the monster of Martial law has targeted and will target civilians who have no participation at all in any armed uprising or struggle,” the appeal filed by human rights lawyers read.
“The inclusion of alleged ‘coddlers,’ ‘supporters,’ and ‘financiers’ opens the floodgates to further attacks against just about anybody,” the petitioners said.
After six hours of oral arguments on Wednesday, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno wrapped up the oral arguments on the consolidated petitions challenging the factual basis of Duterte’s year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao.
Granting a request of Calida to be given more time to file the government’s memorandum on the case, Sereno said that the parties should submit their respective memorandum on January 24, 4:00 p.m,
After the filing of memorandum, the case is deemed submitted for decision.