Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Friday “strongly opposed” a prospective second extension of martial law in all of Mindanao, arguing that the recommendation of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) “has no factual and legal basis and is patently unconstitutional.”
“There is no legal basis for the AFP and PNP to recommend an extension of martial law in Mindanao,” Drilon said in a press statement.
“We cannot continuously place Mindanao under martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ [of habeas corpus] without an actual state of rebellion in the region,” Drilon said.
“The Constitution requires the existence of actual rebellion or actual invasion,” Drilon emphasized.
Citing Section 18, Article VII of the Constitution, Drilon said that the provision on the revocation or extension of the proclamation of martial law is clear and specific, which is “if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.”
“The mandate of the Constitution is clear – martial law may be declared if actual rebellion exists and Congress may extend the declaration if the rebellion persists,” Drilon said.
“As we see it today, however, the grounds for a continued martial law in Mindanao, as cited by the AFP and PNP in the media, do not meet the requirements of the Constitution,” he added.
To establish if rebellion persists, Drilon, a former justice secretary, said “it requires an examination of facts not just to show the persistence of rebellion but also that there is danger to public safety.”
The AFP said it was recommending the extension of martial law in order to combat security threats in Southern Mindanao, as they had information that the rebels are beefing up their force for future attacks.
If this is the only reason, Drilon believes that the AFP and the PNP can exercise their powers under their respective charters without placing Mindanao under martial law for one whole year.