Martial law petitioners, gov't to submit final arguments on June 19

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 15) — After three days, the Supreme Court has ended oral arguments on martial law and had ordered both petitioners for and against President Rodrigo Duterte's proclamation to submit their final arguments on June 19.

"From there the case will be considered submitted for decision. As you very well know, the Constitution has imposed a deadline for the Court to resolve the three petitions," Supreme Court Spokesperson Theodore Te said in a press briefing Thursday.

The submission of memoranda, which contains the final arguments, is required before justices decide on the petition.

The high court had previously ordered three petitions against martial law in Mindanao consolidated. The petitions were calling for the junking of  the declaration.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the Supreme Court should review the sufficiency of factual basis of the proclamation within 30 days after a petition has been filed.

The first petition was filed on June 5 by House minority lawmakers led by Representative Edcel Lagman, giving the Supreme Court until July 5 to decide on the consolidated case.

Earlier in the day, martial law administrator, Sec. Delfin Lorenzana,  and implementor, armed forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año, appeared before the magistrates.

The government officials, justices and petitioners then held a closed-door briefing.

Te said the high court heard the request of the Solicitor General to provide some information in an executive session, but he clarified there's no such thing as an executive session as far as the court is concerned. 

"First clarification theres no such thing as executive session as far as the court is concerned. There is however a rule that allows the court to exclude the public when in the consideration of the court information that will be disclosed maybe be prejudicial or detrimental," Te said.

He explained the court also heard the petitioners and decided to continue the discussions internally.

Solicitor General Jose Calida said it was a fruitful discussion of issues and facts. He added it was enlightening and would help the government's case.

Yesterday, Calida defended President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao. He was told the magistrates were worried that martial law might be declared in the entire country.

RELATED: SC Justice tells SolGen: We're worried Duterte might declare martial law nationwide

On May 24, Duterte said there's a possibility of declaring a nationwide martial law because lawless elements could easily move from one region to another considering the geography of the Philippines.

RELATED: Duterte: Possible nationwide martial law; could last longer

Calida said martial law was declared in the south on May 23 via Proclamation 216 due to the rebellion by terror groups led by the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Abu Sayyaf, and not only because of the crisis in Marawi..

The Solicitor General also said there was sufficient factual basis for the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

"All elements of rebellion were present. There is actual rebellion (on) the streets of Marawi....The goal is to take over the Philippine territory," he said.