Duterte threatens to jail martial law critics

Three voted for a limited scope while one said the declaration was without factual basis. A lone justice, meanwhile, voted to nullify the proclamation altogether.

All 15 justices have circulated their respective opinions, whether concurring or dissenting, and "all opinions will be finalized and submitted by Wednesday", the SC briefer said. He also threatened to defy the Supreme Court if it elected to strike down the declaration.

Fighting continued to completely retake the besieged city, killing at least 462 people, including 337 terrorists, 39 civilians and 85 soldiers and policemen.

Following the clashes, Mr. Duterte placed the entire Mindanao and its islands under martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus there.

Lorenzana said Australia deployed two P3 Orion aircraft Friday in Marawi, where a similar US surveillance plane started operating a few weeks ago.

Martial law, he said, "means more hardships, discrimination and abuses to us!"

"I urge you to remain steadfast and alert as martial law in Mindanao will remain in effect to counter the persistent threat of terrorism and insurgency", he said.

Magdalo's Alejano said he respected the court ruling but added that "placing the entire Mindanao under martial law is hard to comprehend and justify when the crisis is taking place only in the province of Lanao del Sur".

Following the ruling, Solicitor General Jose Calida said the court's decision to affirm the declaration proves there is a "real and present" rebellion in southern Philippines. "They made it easier to commit human rights violations in many parts of the country".

"In faithful compliance with this duty, President Duterte saw it fit to exercise his constitutional power to declare martial law", he added. Calida said in a statement.

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Before Duterte, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also declared martial law in 2009, in response to a massacre of 58 people in the province of Maguindanao.

Some senators also called for vigilance on Mr. Duterte's proclamation, especially as the 60-day period imposed by the Constitution is about complete. The battle between government forces and the extremists continues with more than 400 dead and thousands displaced. Besides, almost 40,000 people had to leave their houses in Marawi and neighbouring areas for evacuation.

Party-list Rep. Tom Villar of Akbayan in said the war on drugs took a back seat when the Marawi incident happened, but is now back in full swing.

Mr. Duterte's proclamation ends on July 23, the eve of his second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

"It is a decision hyped by fear and insecurity as laid to the Court after the fact".

"Lest we forget, bad precedents stem from seemingly justifiable measures. Martial law becomes a hard habit to break", he said.

Seventeen of 23 senators earlier signed a resolution supporting Duterte's proclamation of military rule, saying there was no "compelling reason" to revoke it.

Mr. Calida in his comment on the said petitions - filed by former solicitor-general Florin T. Hilbay and ex-senator Wigberto E. Tañada - said: "The Constitution only provides for the conduct of "voting jointly" and only for the objective of revoking or extending the proclamation or suspension".

However, senators Joel Villanueva and Hontiveros wanted answers to some of their questions.

"We will be ready to assess and make that decision if there's really a need to extend the declaration on [martial law]", Mr. Villanueva added.

  • Ronnie Bowen