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Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin has defended the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the legality of the third extension of martial law in Mindanao, saying the accuracy of violence reports in the island group is “irrelevant.”

Bersamin said Thursday (February 21) that the Supreme Court found factual basis for martial law to be extended until the end of 2019.

“Whether that information is true or not is irrelevant. If there was false information and the President did not know it but nonetheless acted upon it, the theory is, it is still within the competence of the President to make a decision on that,” he said in an interview at the sidelines of an event at the Sandiganbayan.

“When you note some inconsistencies or weaknesses, that is not sufficient to undo the determination of the President because accuracy is not the question here,” he added.

Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa had noted some inconsistencies in the military’s report on the implementation of martial law during oral arguments held last month. Among the conflicting details he pointed out was the attribution of some attacks to both the cand New People’s Army.

Voting 9-4, the Supreme Court voted to dismiss the petitions questioning the legality of extending martial law in Mindanao for the third time.

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