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Bam: Martial law ruling erodes democracy; Sherwin hits SC critics.

Senator Bam Aquino called on the public on Wednesday to stop the continuous weakening of democracy in the Philippines following the Supreme Court's decision, upholding the one-year martial law extension in Mindanao.

'Nakalulungkot na hindi itinaguyod ng Supreme Court ang mga mithiin na pinaglaban noong People Power na laban sa Martial Law, sa buwan pa mismo ng anibersaryo nito,' Aquino, an opposition member, said in a statement.

'Sa desisyong suportahan ang mahabaang Martial Law, nabuksan ang pagdeklara ng Martial Law sa buong kapulungan na walang klarong basehan ng hangganan. Kailangang itigil ang tuluy-tuloy na pagbakbak sa demokrasya ng Pilipinas,' the senator added.

But Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, a member of the Senate majority bloc, defended the SC as he criticized the opposition for quickly calling the decision a 'failure of the rule of law.'

'The political opposition has been quick to brand the Supreme Court ruling, which upheld the validity of the extension of martial law, as the result of a failure of the rule of law. How can this be the case when the strict constitutional checks and balances that regulate the power to extend martial law have been observed in good faith?' Gatchalian said in a separate statement.

He pointed out that President Rodrigo Duterte's recommendation to extend martial law from January 2018 to December 2018, the approval of Congress in a joint session, and the SC's review of the extension were all 'conducted exactly as required by the Constitution.'

'At the end of this long deliberative process, the three great branches of government have come to the same conclusion - that the extension of martial law is a just and necessary medicine to cure Mindanao of the violent extremism that has afflicted the island for so long. This is precisely the rule of law at work. The political opposition cannot simply proclaim its failure because they disagree with the result,' he said.

'In the end, the political battles that rage in the halls of government and on social media must give way to the life-and-death battles being fought by our brave soldiers and policemen on the front lines of the conflict,' Gatchalian said.

He then urged all Filipinos, regardless of political affiliation, 'to unite behind the government's efforts to defeat the rebellion and eradicate violent extremism.'

'Only a united Filipino nation will be able to win the war and achieve lasting peace in Mindanao,' he added.

Voting 10-5, the high tribunal has affirmed the martial law declaration after a failed attempt by the terrorist Maute group to siege the city. /cbb

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Feb 7, 2018
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