MANILA – The Supreme Court en banc has ordered the consolidation of three petitions filed before it against the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Two more petitions were filed on Friday (June 9) at the SC, asking it to throw out Proclamation No. 216 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on May 23, after hundreds of extremists led by the Maute Group laid siege to Marawi City.
The President cited intelligence reports that the Maute Group was seeking to set up there a “province” for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), whose full recognition it was seeking.
The fourth petition questioning the basis for the proclamation was filed Friday by the Makabayan bloc of lawmakers, along with organizations of indigenous people and Mindanao workers.
The fifth petition was filed by four Marawi residents, represented by Atty. Christian Monsod, former Comelec chairman and member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Charter.
The SC en banc order sent to the petitioners said the last two petitions filed were sufficient in form and substance.
The petitioners were asking the SC to review whether there was enough factual basis for martial law.
At the same time, they wanted the high court to void the proclamation – the same prayer of the first petition filed by the so-called “Magnificent 7” lawmakers led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman.
According to the SC, most of the allegations, issues and arguments raised in the last two petitions were similar to those of the Lagman group, and therefore the three petitions should be consolidated.
Oral arguments June 13-15
Meanwhile, the SC also directed the office of the solicitor general, as counsel for respondents – President Duterte, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año and PNP chief Director General Ronald de la Rosa, to submit a consolidated comment by noon of Monday, June 12.
The SC also ordered petitioners to attend a preliminary conference at 2:00 pm Monday
The high court set oral arguments from June 13 to June 15.
Two more petitions on martial law are pending before the SC. One petition was filed by the group of detained Sen. Leila de Lima, Atty. Alex Padilla, ex-CHR chair Etta Rosales.
The other petition was filed by bishops and former senator Wigberto Tañada, asking the SC to order Congress to convene a joint session to tackle the martial law proclamation.