Philippine lawmakers ask top court to nullify martial law

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OPPOSITION congressmen led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman yesterday challenged before the Supreme Court the constitutionality of President Duterte's martial law proclamation in Mindanao.

"The petitioners also claimed that the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is flawed because admittedly President Duterte acted alone, without any recommendation from or consultation with the ranking defense and military authorities, some of whom formed part of his official entourage in Russian Federation", said Lagman.

The Maute group has been battling government troops since May 23 in Marawi City, reportedly to protect the "emir" or leader of ISIS in the Philippines, Isnilon Hapilon, who is believed to be in the area. It empowers the Supreme Court to overrule a martial law proclamation, as well as requiring the president to get congressional approval to implement a decision to extend it.

On Saturday, Duterte said Marawi would be fully liberated within three days, although on Monday officials were more reserved when they gave an update on the fighting.

In seeking a joint session, the petitioners cited that the 1987 Constitution "is replete with built-in safeguards as a direct effect of the abuses that the country and its democratic institutions had to endure under Martial Law".

They also called the President's report to the Congress detailing the grounds for the imposition of martial law as "inaccurate, false and hyperbolic". It is one of the country's only Muslim-majority cities in a predominantly Christian country, and most of the city's 200,000 residents have fled.

Gen. Salamat said the new weapons will be used for counter-terrorism operations and in the fight against Muslim militants in Marawi, southern Philippines.

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The Amai Pakpak Medical Center (APMC) was not overrun by the Maute Group, according to Dr. Amer Saber, APMC's medical director, and that its medical facility remains operational.

The chief of police of Malabang in Lanao del Sur, Senior Insp.

Duterte has called for the withdrawal of American troops from his country while scaling down joint military exercises in response to United States criticism of his deadly war on drugs.

Among them were Mahmud Ahmad, a Malaysian university lecturer who is poised to take over the leadership of Islamic State in the southern Philippines if Hapilon is killed, he said.

The fighting in Marawi has prompted Duterte to place the entire Mindanao island under martial rule.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto C. Abella, for his part, said in a press conference yesterday: "Regarding the efforts of the independent parties, that's a prerogative to do so, however, the report has been submitted to Congress already regarding the matter and so let's see how it unfolds".

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara Jr. said he expected the filing but the case might be rendered moot and academic as the President could lift the martial law anytime soon. "That's our view", he said. Now many are asking, what is the difference between Duterte's martial law and martial law of the Marcos regime?

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