In a majority vote, the Supreme Court on Tuesday affirmed President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Eleven justices voted to uphold the president’s declaration over all of Mindanao, said Supreme Court spokesperson Theodore Te in a press briefing.

Three others voted to limit the declaration to Marawi City, the conflict zone. A lone justice, meanwhile, voted to nullify the proclamation altogether.

The decision validated Duterte’s declaration on May 23, when he placed the entire Mindanao under military rule following clashes between government troops and Islamic State-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf group terrorists in the Islamic city of Marawi.

It dismissed several petitions that questioned the basis of the president’s declaration.

The ruling stands as the first on the merits of a martial law declaration under Article 7, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution, which provides safeguards against a repeat of an abusive military rule seen during the time of deposed strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

Te did not disclose details on how justices voted, but several ABS-CBN sources said the vote was as follows:


Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr.

Associate Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro

Associate Justice Diosdado M. Peralta

Associate Justice Lucas P. Bersamin

Associate Justice Mariano C. Del Castillo

Associate Justice Jose C. Mendoza

Associate Justice Bienvenido L. Reyes

Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe

Associate Justice Francis H. Jardeleza

Associate Justice Samuel R. Martires

Associate Justice Noel G. Tijam



Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio

Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa


Associate Justice Marvic Leonen

In justifying his declaration, President Duterte had told Congress in a report that the extremists were planning to create an Islamic State province in Mindanao.

The state offensive continues, with more than 461 now dead, among them 337 terrorists, 85 government forces, and 39 civilians.

Several petitioners- opposition lawmakers, leftist leaders and four women from Marawi City- had asked the high court to invalidate the martial law declaration over all of Mindanao, saying there was no basis for military rule.

They asserted that the President could have addressed the crisis even without declaring martial law, saying the conflict was confined within Marawi City.

During oral arguments from June 13 to 15, magistrates sought government’s clarification on the President’s reasons for placing all of Mindanao under martial rule amid clashes between state troops and terrorists in Marawi City.

Solicitor General Jose Calida insisted that “all the elements of rebellion were present” when Duterte issued Proclamation No. 216. The President also suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus to allow police to make warrantless arrests of terror suspects.

The President had previously said that he would respect the decision of the Supreme Court.

In 2009, several petitioners questioned then President Gloria Arroyo’s declaration of martial law in Maguindanao following the massacre of 57 people, mostly journalists, in the province on Nov. 23 of the same year.

At the time, Arroyo cited a threat of an uprising by loyal followers of the Ampatuan family, suspects in the gruesome murders.

The cases were junked for being moot as Arroyo lifted her declaration after just eight days, even before Congress could review her proclamation. — with reports from Ina Reformina


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *