FORMER Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann “Etta” Rosales yesterday filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to nullify the full-year extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.
In her suit – the third such filed by martial law critics — Rosales said there was no longer factual basis to extend martial law in Mindanao because the government already declared that Marawi City had been liberated from the Maute Group.
In her 33-page petition, Rosales said a threat of violence is not the requisite stated under the Constitution to justify martial law.
She said, under the Constitution, a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus or the declaration of martial law can only be done in case of invasion, rebellion or when the public safety requires it.
In this case, however, she said the government itself declared that the Marawi seige is over and the martial law was declared to stop the possible regrouping of terror groups.
“Actual invasion or actual rebellion presupposes the existence of a theater of war that requires the imposition of military law on the civilian population. Thus, in the absence of an actual invasion or actual rebellion, necessarily, there is no factual basis for extending martial law,” Rosales said.
Rosales said the high court should not tolerate such justification to declare martial law.
“The Honorable Court is the last institution that can prevent the misuse and ‘normalization’ of martial law for ordinary peacekeeping and governance activities,” she added.
“With all due respect, and without diminishing the threat posed by any of the foregoing, none of these constitute actual rebellion or actual invasion. Moreover, it mistakes the distinction between the need for military force which is effected through the use of the calling out powers of the President, on one hand, and the need for imposing martial law on the civilian population, on the other,” the petition stated.