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More lawmakers hail SC ruling on ML

July 5 – More House members today welcomed the Supreme Court ruling upholding President Duterte’s Proclamation 216 which declared martial law in Mindanao at the onset of the Maute terror group attack last May.

Rep. Robert Ace Barbers (2nd District, Surigao del Norte), chairman of the committee on dangerous drugs, lauded the SC decision and commended the 11 justices who saw the light and wisdom in President Duterte’s decision in declaring martial law in Mindanao.

“Being a Mindanaoan myself, I share the President’s insight and knowledge of the culture and mentality of the people there. This is a clear vindication of President Duterte’s resolve to crush the Maute rebellion at all cost. Putting the entire Mindanao under Martial Law proved to be a wise move as it prevented possible reinforcements from reaching the rebels in Marawi. This is a victory for every peace-loving Filipino who condemned the senseless loss of lives in that rebellion,” said Barbers.

Rep. Roger Mercado (Lone District, Southern Leyte), chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments, said the Supreme Court has proven that the Filipino people should support President Duterte.

“Our Muslim brothers must do their part in rebuilding Mindanao in order that the Mindanaoans can see and feel the funds and infrastructure projects of the National Government. It’s bringing the government to the people,” said Mercado.

Rep. Gus Tambunting (2nd District, Parañaque), chairman of the committee on games and amusements, said the Supreme Court ruling is good for the country.

“It avoids a constitutional crisis. It also recognizes that the problem in Mindanao is complex, and the solution is something that the judiciary must not impede the executive from achieving. Now more than ever, we must rally behind President Duterte and the rest of his government in their efforts to stamp out the Daesh and its attempt to bring radicalism and violence to our country,” said Tambunting.

Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said that even before the congressional break, he mentioned that the incident in Marawi may be difficult to contain, with the news coming out that there were pre-positioned fighters, well-armed and well-equipped with unlimited supply of ammo. He said the events justified the President’s martial law declaration, and the SC ruling settled it.

“Iyong extension (ng martial law) is a call of the House and the Senate, if the President will ask for it. I think it’s more of a military decision and the President will be guided accordingly by the decision of the military. I think the situation is still far from being normal. An extension may be in order,” Suarez said.

Rep. Johnny Ty Pimentel (2nd District, Surigao del Sur), chairman of the committee on good government and public accountability, said martial law in Mindanao may be extended to solve the big problem confronting Marawi City.

“Nakita naman po natin na almost 400 na ang namatay and marami na ang napinsala sa Marawi, and in fact, kapag hindi pa ito mabibigyan ng lunas baka ma-extend pa ang martial law, I will still support it,” said Pimentel.

Rep. Jericho Jonas Nograles (Party-list, PBA), said the SC ruling erases all questions on the validity of the martial declaration. He lauded the country’s final arbiter for clarifying the martial law declaration’s legality and commended the President’s legal team for competently presenting the case before the SC.

“With the Supreme Court voting 11-3-1, the issue is settled. Martial law in Mindanao is valid, legal and Constitutional. I hope those who dissent will now focus their energy in supporting the efforts for peace and rehabilitation in Mindanao,” said Nograles.

Rep. Maria Carmen Zamora (First District, Compostela Valley) said the Supreme Court has validated the President’s proclamation of martial law in its ruling, and in so doing, it is a call for unity for the country.

“We have always supported Proclamation 216, with the urgent call for the protection of innocent civilians and the upholding of human rights. With the Supreme Court putting all arguments to rest, may we all focus on providing support not only for the battle against extremism and terrorism, but for the rehabilitation of Marawi and all affected areas,” said Zamora.

Zamora added : “The safety of our citizens, our rights and our lives take primordial importance in this conflict, and we are proactively responding not just through military action under martial law, but also through other ongoing interventions. We have full faith and trust in the government under President Rodrigo Duterte in resolving all issues in the implementation of martial law.”

Rep. Harry Roque (Party-list, Kabayan), one of the few elected officials who visited war-torn Marawi, expressed appreciation of the SC’s decision to respect and acknowledge information readily available to the Executive, which he said the High Tribunal had no access to.

“In the absence of its ability to discern for itself the factual basis for martial law, it should accord the Executive the presumption of regularity of discharge of function, which in this case it did. The declaration of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus are the ultimate and most invasive exercise of executive power of the President as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Roque said.

“Although it has ceased to be a political question and may be reviewed by the Court, in the absence of grave abuse of discretion – meaning unless the declaration was based on clearly spurious grounds – the Court was right in deferring to the judgment of the President,” Roque further said.

Roque said he had seen first-hand the effects of the on-going conflict in the Islamic City. “I am hopeful that now that the validity of Proclamation 216 has been settled, we can move on to the challenging task of rebuilding Marawi,” Roque said.

Rep. Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City), chairman of the committee on Metro Manila development, said the Supreme Court should be onboard in saving the country against any threat.

“It (ruling) is not without any justifiable reason. We are glad to know that all three branches of the government are united in solving this biggest threat to our security now,” said Castelo.

Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III (Party-list, ACTS-OFW) said he had always believed that President Duterte’s martial law declaration is within the bounds of the Constitution.
“I also know that the President’s decision to declare martial law was arrived at only after a thorough deliberation and study by the President and his advisers. It was the last recourse available to the President after he received reports of the breadth and depth of the devastation inflicted in Marawi by the terrorist Maute group,” said Bertiz.

Bertiz said he looks forward to the eradication of the terrorist threat and the continuation of peace and development efforts in Mindanao.

Rep. Bernadette Herrera Dy (Party-list, Bagong Henerasyon), chairperson of the committee on public information, said the SC ruling was a vindication of the President.

“At least vindicated naman yung naging decision ng ating Pangulo to declare martial law pati yung ginawa namin dito sa Congress na nagsagawa rin kami ng reports. Nakikita natin dito that even the judiciary agrees with the decision of the President,” said Herrera-Dy.

Rep. Gil Acosta (3rd District, Palawan) said the Supreme Court made the right move of upholding the validity of the President’s martial rule declaration.

“Ang palagay ko, tama lang na pinaboran ng Korte Suprema ang deklarasyon ng martial law ng Pangulong Digong, believing na it’s high time. Akalain mong gumawa pa ng isang hakbang si President Digong, kung inayos na ito noong una pa, noong previous administration, hindi nagkaroon ng pagkakataon itong Maute group na ito na makausap iyong ISIS na akalain mong nandoon na in place na sila lahat pati mga bunkers. Nagawa na nila pati mag-ipon ng food supplies, pati bala, eh kung hindi natuklasan ito, ano mangyayari sa Pilipinas?,” said Acosta.

Acosta said his district in Palawan favors the martial law declaration in Mindanao. “Pabor kami dito dahil nga iyong spill over nito, baka pag hindi ito natuklasan ng maaga pupunta iyan sa amin, pupunta sa Palawan,” he said.

In fact, Acosta said during the 2001 Dos Palmas incident, their province was affected by terrorism right in the center of the province, which is Puerta Princesa City.

“Nandiyan lang mga 2 miles off lang sa Western Command. So ibig sabihin, hindi agad natuklasan, mabuti na lang itong si President Digong may guts and he has the support of the House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate. Kaya doon sa plenary decision, I voted in favor of the martial declaration of the President because it is good for our country, it is good for our region sa MIMAROPA lalo na dito sa aking distrito na siyang isa sa number one or number one tourist destination sa buong mundo,” said Acosta.
Rep. Carlos Roman Uybarreta (Party-list, 1-Care) said now that the Supreme Court has spoken, the people should rally behind the President and help in the resolution of the Marawi crisis.

“With the Supreme Court ruling that the martial law declaration has a legitimate basis, sana po ay mag-rally lang tayong lahat para sa Presidente at ma-solve na po itong problema natin sa Marawi,” said Uybarreta, a vice chairman of the energy committee. CM/MVIP/ICY JR/JMC/KFA/SE   | via HOR

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