THE SUPREME COURT issued a ruling in favor of the third extension of martial law in Mindanao on February 19. This was issued by the court in response to the appeal filed by the Makabayan bloc, lawyers and the opposition against the said extension. The extension was approved during a joint-session of the Congress on December 12, 2018.
The Supreme Court decision legitimizes the prevalence of fascism and impunity in Mindanao. It is blind and deaf to the abuses perpetrated by the police and military under the guise of martial law and fails to address the people’s clamor for justice.
Students of the University of the Philippines-Diliman in Quezon City met the issuance of the ruling with a lightning rally. They condemned the uselessness of the reactionary court and its servility to the reactionary regime.
In a related news, elements of the National Bureau of Investigation arrested Maria Ressa of Rappler, an online news outfit, in its office in Pasig City on February 13, 5:00 p.m. based on a warrant of arrest for cyber libel issued by the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46.
Using the subterfuge that the case is no longer covered by the judge’s jurisdiction, Ressa was not allowed to post bail during the scheduled “night court” in Pasay City. Ressa’s arrest is part of the Duterte regime’s continuing suppression campaign against its critics in the media.
Media groups and progressive organizations condemned the harassment against Ressa. According to the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines, the trumped-up cyber libel case against Rappler and its chief executive officer is a clear picture of how a tyrannical government persecutes its critics. They added that this is part of the regime’s scheme to silence critical media and curtail press freedom. On February 14-15, various youth and media groups mounted coordinated protests in defense of press freedom.
Meanwhile, on February 18, Kadamay members marched from the Department of Interior and Local Government headquarters to Camp Aguinaldo to oppose the continuing harassment of the police and military against the people. They said that the attacks may be a precursor to the formal implementation of martial law across the country. The group splattered red paint at the gates of the camp which symbolizes the pervasiveness of violence and killings in the countryside.