DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Leaders of the Makabayan bloc on Monday, January 8, petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) to issue an “urgent” temporary restraining order (TRO) against the extended martial law in Mindanao.
The petition was received by the SC at around 11 am on Monday, according to Anakpawis party-list Representative Ariel Casilao, among the petitioners for the TRO.
Casilao sent Davao Today a copy of the petition, which described the implementation of martial law in Mindanao as a “specter” haunting the island.
“The executive and the legislative alliance to summon this specter: peddling imagined fears of the persistence of enemies the government had claimed to have already vanquished,” the petition said.
The petitioners, Mindanao residents and leaders of progressive groups, were:
– Eufemia Campos Cullamat (Member, Pakigbisog Alang Sumusunod)
– Noli Villanueva (Chairperson, Compostela Farmers Association)
– Rius Valle (Spokesperson, Save Our Schools Network)
– Maria Carolina Araullo (Chairperson, Bagong Alyansang Makabyan)
– Renato Reyes, Jr. (Secretary-General, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan)
– Cristina Palabay (Secretary-General, Karapatan)
– Carlos Isagani Zarate (Representative, Bayan Muna)
– Emerenciana De Jesus (Representative, Gabriela Partylist)
– Arlene Brosas (Representative, Gabriela Partylist)
– Antonio Tinio (Representative, ACT Teachers Partylist)
– Francisca Castro (Representative, ACT Teachers Partylist)
– Sarah Jan Elago (Representative, Kabataan Partylist)
Based on the petition, the leaders sought for an “open, inclusive, thorough judicial determination” of the sufficiency of the factual basis for the extension or suspension of Martial Law.
The National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), which assisted in the filing of the petition, also confirmed of Makabayan’s request before the SC.
Neri Colmenares, chairperson of the NUPL, said the extension of martial law “is a violation of the Constitution which only allows the imposition of martial law when there is actual rebellion and when the operations of civilian government are substantially impaired that public safety should be preserved.”
“The military,” he added, “does not need martial law to shoot and arrest armed groups such as the NPA (New People’s Army).”
“The real targets here are ordinary activists and dissenters who are critical of President Duterte’s human rights record and anti-people policies,” said Colmenares.
Human rights groups have long pointed out that cases of human rights abuses in Mindanao have increased since President Duterte’s declaration of military rule.
Ryan Amper, Barug Katungod spokesperson, believes that the Duterte administration is preparing for “more sinister attacks on people’s rights.”
“The unlimited Martial Law gives blanket authority to President Duterte to make 2018 a bloodier year for human rights,” said Amper in a statement.
Between June 2016 and December 2017, Barug Katungod has recorded 92 cases of extrajudicial killings in Mindanao. Most of the victims were indigenous people and peasant activists.
This is far from the 12 cases documented by Karapatan during the same period (July 2010-December 2011) under the Aquino administration.
Last month, both majority of the lawmakers of the Philippine Congress voted in favor of President’s Duterte to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2018. (davaotoday.com)