By Rey Panaligan
The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) Wednesday to submit the reports given by the Department of National Defense (DND) to Congress on the implementation of martial law in Mindanao from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2018.
Legal sources said the reports submitted by the DND were used as bases by Congress to extend the implementation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus until the end of this year.
In a resolution, Solicitor General Jose C. Calida was directed to submit the DND’s monthly or periodic reports “which may involve highly sensitive and confidential matters affecting the security of the state” not later than Friday, January 25.
“The Members of the Court will make a preliminary assessment whether or not the said Reports may only be appropriately discussed and deliberated upon in an executive session,” the resolution stated.
It mandated Calida that “the submission must be made in fifteen (15) sealed copies and in the manner consistent with the prevailing government security requirements for said confidential or classified information, to be filed directly with the Office of the Clerk of Court En Banc only for the Members of the Court.”
The resolution was issued in line with the petitions that assailed the constitutionality of the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao until Dec. 31, 2019.
The SC has set oral arguments starting on Tuesday next week on the first three petitions.
On Wednesday, a fourth petition was filed by a group of teachers, students, and supporters of the indigenous group Lumad. The group also pleaded the SC to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would stop the implementation of the extension of martial law in Mindanao.
The fourth petition is expected to be consolidated with the first three petitions.