Friday 17 August, 2018
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Leonen torches peers: SC is becoming a clone of Marcos’ High Court during martial law

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Supreme Court (SC) Justice Marvic Leonen has accused the majority of high tribunal of repeating its mistakes during the dictatorship of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

“In the 1970s, there was a Court which painfully morphed into a willing accomplice to the demise of fundamental rights through tortured readings of their clear constitutional mandate in order to accommodate a strongman,” reminded Leonen in his dissenting opinion.

“The majority’s decision in this case aligns us towards the same dangerous path. It erodes this Court’s role as our society’s legal conscience. It misleads our people that the solution to the problems of Mindanao can be solved principally with the determined use of force. It is a path to disempowerment,” he pointed out.

The SC on February 6 voted 10-5 to junk the petitions which sought to stop the one-year extension given to martial law over Mindanao.

“Petitioners failed to satisfy the requisites for the issuance of an injunction,” explained SC spokesman Theodore Te.

“The claims of violation of human rights are speculative and lack a nexus between the exercise of martial law powers and their apprehension of such violations,” he pointed out.

Those who filed the petitions are former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Etta Rosales; the group of Constitutional expert Christian Monsod and Dinagat Islands Rep. Arlen Bag-ao; opposition lawmakers lead by Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman; and militant groups which include Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate and Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao.

Martial law was supposed to end last December 31, 2017 but Congress granted President Duterte’s requests to extend it up to December 31, 2018.

“The manner of Congress deliberations with respect to the President’s request for extension of martial law in Mindanao for one year is not judicial review,” the SC also pointed out.

“Congress has the power to extend and determine the period of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus under Article VII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution,” it ruled.

The magistrates who voted to junk the petition are Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresito Leonardo-De Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano Del Castillo, Estela Perlas Bernabe, Andres Reyes Jr., and Alexander Gesmundo.

Those who favored granting the petitions are Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Justices Antonio Carpio, Francis Hardeleza, Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa and Leonen.

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