Calida: Petitioners vs martial law extension don’t know Mindanao situation

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Opposition lawmakers who want to stop the year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao don’t know any better than President Rodrigo Duterte about the situation in the region, according to Solicitor General Jose Calida.

Calida made the remark in a text message sent to reporters on Thursday, Dec. 28, a day after minority lawmakers, led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, filed a petition with the Supreme Court (SC) for a temporary restraining order against the extension.

“Do the petitioners know better than the President and the overwhelming majority of members of Congress who approved the extension of martial law in Mindanao? Definitely not,” Calida said.

“Anyone who says there is no on-going rebellion in Mindanao is either ignorant of the factual situation there or protective of the longest rebellion that has plagued our country,” he added.

Last Dec. 13, Congress, in a joint session, voted 240-27 to approve Duterte’s request to extend the declaration of martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2018.

“The congressional imprimatur on the validity of the extension is a political question that has been resolved by the legislature,” Calida said.

In a 29-page petition to the Supreme Court, opposition legislators said the second extension of martial in Mindanao should be declared “null and void” since there was “no actual rebellion” in the region to justify it.

“There is no actual rebellion in Mindanao and the re-extension is extremely long even as the approval was made with undue haste and unscrupulous imprudence,” the petitioners said.

Aside from Lagman, the other petitioners are Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., Capiz Rep. Emmanuel Billones, Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, and Akbayan party-list Rep. Tomasito Villarin.

Named respondents are Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, and Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero. –


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