The Supreme Court held a close-door session as it caps off the three-day oral arguments on martial law in Mindanao.
By IAN IRVING BAZARTE
MANILA – In a closed-door session held today, the Supreme Court concluded the oral arguments for the three consolidated petitions seeking to nullify President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Present in the six-hour session were Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año, whom President Duterte appointed as administrator and implementor, respectively, of martial law in Mindanao. They were accompanied by Solicitor General Jose Calida, and other officials from their respective departments.
The three groups of petitioners each had a representative in the session.
This was the only session out of three that were made behind closed doors.
The Supreme Court yesterday requested the presence of Lorenzana and Año in today’s session.
In a press conference, Supreme Court spokesperson Atty. Theodore Te said the petitioners and the respondents are given until June 19 at 2 PM to submit to the high court their respective memoranda.
“From there, the case will be considered submitted for decision,” Te said.
Te added that the 1987 Constitution required the Court to decide on the petitions on or before July 5, or 30 days after the petitions were first put forward.
Meanwhile, Calida told reporters after the session that Año and Lorenzana were able to answer questions from the justices and present documents containing “updated” information pertaining to the Marawi City siege during the session. He added that he felt “confident” about their arguments.
Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law on the evening of May 23, after the Isis-backed Maute group’s attack and subsequent siege in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
The petitioners argued that the declaration of martial law in Mindanao had no factual basis because there were no reported instances of terror attacks in other parts of Mindanao, and thus no actual rebellion or invasion which could justify the declaration.