Gabriela Rep. Brosas joins groups in asking SC to void Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao; Speaker Alvarez urged to ‘exercise discernment’

Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) Rep. Arlene Brosas on Friday joined other petitioners in asking the high court to nullify President Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao.

“The high court must not shirk its responsibility to review the factual basis of Duterte’s martial law declaration especially as both chambers of Congress have so willfully approved the militarist solution without sufficient debate and discussion,” Brosas said, citing separate resolutions of the Senate and the House of Representatives supporting the declaration.

“Duterte’s Presidential Proclamation 216, if absolutely unchallenged, sets a very dangerous precedent for the arbitrary declaration of a nationwide martial rule based on unfounded claims of rebellion and threats to public safety. SC should immediately step in to save the women and the people from the arbitrary imposition of martial law,” Brosas added.

In the petition, Brosas and other private individuals cited Section 18 Article VII of the 1987 Constitution stating that the high court “may review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus” within thirty days from the filing of a petition.

The lady lawmaker said it is very important to check the incidents cited as basis for the declaration in President Duterte’s martial law report “because many of these are disproved by mainstream media reports and fact-checking efforts.”

“The martial law report has not substantially demonstrated that the presumed rebellion of the Maute group has reached an extent that threatens public safety and the existence of the Republic of the Philippines,” Brosas said.

‘Exercise discernment’

The GWP representative also disapproved of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarezs’ statement to the media that he would ignore any promulgation of the high court on the martial law declaration.

“We call on Speaker Alvarez to use his heart and exercise discernment of various opinions on the martial law declaration, including those coming from the SC magistrates, even if they run counter to the sentiment of the House. To ignore the principle of checks and balance among the three co-equal branches is to set the stage for a repeat of a dictatorial rule in the country,” Brosas said.

She said the impacts of airstrikes and full-blown militarism on women, children and people of Mindanao cannot just be ignored, adding that the declaration is being stretched to justify crackdown on workers’ strikes and intensification of the military’s all-out war on communities.

“We call on the people to exercise vigilance on the martial law declaration and resist the intensification of state-sponsored attacks on basic human rights,” Brosas ended. #