Thursday, June 1, 2017

Will martial law entail military courts on Mindanao?

Philippines Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has told an interviewer that military courts might be set up under the country's martial law status. Experts disagree. Excerpt:
For lawyer and political analyst Tony La Viña, however, Aguirre's interpretation of the Constitution is inaccurate. 
"Theoretically, he is right about military courts being given jurisdiction over civilians if civil courts can no longer function. But if civil courts are still functional in other areas, the exception does not apply....So in Marawi, the courts can meet in Iligan and this can be done by the Supreme Court (SC)," La Viña said.
Lawyer Rommel Bagares of the Center for International Law (CenterLaw) said establishing military courts in the time of martial law is "contrary to the Constitution."
"Section 18 of Article VII is clear: civilian courts are not supplanted by military ones in a time of martial law. SC can appoint temporarily, in the public interest, judges to such areas. DOJ should ask SC to organize special courts for the purpose," Bagares said.

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