EXCLUSIVE: Muslim lawyers to challenge martial law declaration before Supreme Court

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 24) — A group of Muslim lawyers is planning to oppose before the Supreme Court President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Philippine Muslim Society Atty. Jamal Latiph bared their plans to CNN Philippines on Wednesday.

"We are trying to call, inform, consolidate to question the validity, the basis of the martial law declared by President Duterte," he said.

He said he is meeting with the Mindanaoan lawyers on Wednesday night to plan their next move and consolidate evidence and eyewitness accounts from Marawi City to be submitted to the high court.

READ: Marawi crisis timeline

Latiph said, as a lawyer, he does not see any valid basis for Duterte's declaration.

"We feel there is no basis, we feel he must first do the traditional approach rather than doing martial law. That is the last resort....Talk to the LGU to have a negotiation, to have a backdoor channeling in order for them to peacefully leave Marawi City," he said.

Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23 due to rebellion following the ongoing clash between government troops and the Maute group in Marawi, as well as conflicts in Zamboanga, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Central Mindanao.

Related: Duterte declares martial law in Mindanao

Latiph insisted martial law is not the solution to the Marawi crisis.

"Doing the military solution will not be a solution. It will create more abuses. Declaring martial law will only invite more atrocities, invite more young people to join the rebels," he said.

He added it will not solve the conflict in Mindanao.

In a video message on Wednesday, Duterte warned Filipinos he will be "harsh" with the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.

"Kayong mga kababayan ko (my fellow Filipinos), you have experienced martial law. It could not be any different from what the President Marcos did. I'd be harsh," Duterte said.

Related: Duterte on martial law: 'I'd be harsh'

During the former President Ferdinand Marcos' martial law, the Commission on Human Rights recorded at least 20,000 cases of human rights violations.

Latiph added clashes in the area are a normal occurrence, happening since the term of President Fidel V. Ramos, which is why he does not understand the need to declare martial law.

Marawi is considered the center of livelihood, finance, banking, education, according to Latiph.

"It is the heart and the brain of Lanao Del Sur," he said.

The 1987 Constitution gives the President the power to call on the armed forces to suppress lawless violence, invasion, or rebellion.

The President may declare martial law in any part of the country for up to 60 days. But President Duterte said he is unsure how long the martial law in Mindanao will last, and added it could last for a year.

Under the Constitution, in cases of invasion of rebellion and when public safety requires it, the President must submit a report to Congress within 48 hours of declaring it, which will then vote whether or not to revoke it.

The Supreme Court may also rule to revoke martial law within 30 days of a case being filed.

Martial law does not suspend the function of Congress or the courts, and it does not automatically allow warrantless arrests.