MANILA – On Tuesday, July 4, the Supreme Court voted, with one dissent, to uphold the constitutionality of President Duterte’s 60-day martial law proclamation in Mindanao. Associate Justice Samuel Martires was one of 11 who voted to uphold it completely.
Here’s how the SC Public Information Office summarized his opinion:
1. On the “appropriate proceeding”, Justice Martires is of the opinion that one already exists, in the form of a petition for certiorari.
2. On the burden of proof and the quantum of evidence, he believes that the Government has the burden of proof to justify the declaration of martial law and that, in this case, it was able to discharge it. The burden of going forward with the evidence shifted to the petitioners to refute the government’s claim which it failed to do.
3. On the sufficiency of the factual basis for the proclamation and suspension, the President had sufficient factual basis and therefore did not act with grave abuse of discretion. This is shown in Proclamation No. 216 which stated overt acts manifesting culpable intent of rebellion. The President’s Report to Congress also enumerated events showing a display of force against the government.
4. On the territorial scope of the declaration and suspension, Justice Martires opined that the acts and circumstances enumerated in the President’s Report provided sufficient justification for the President to belive that rebellion existed in the whole of Mindanao and that the security of the whole island was compromised. He also submits that it is absurd to require a public uprising in every city and province in Mindanao before rebellion can be deemed to exist in the whole island if there is already reason to believe that the Maute group’s culpable intent is for the whole of Mindanao to become a wilayah even if hostilities have started in just one city.
Below, full text of his opinion: