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WATCH: SC Justices meet with Lorenzana, Año in private for ‘secret’ martial law matters

What was supposed to be a day of oral arguments in the Supreme Court turned out to be a 6-hour long wait for the media.

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) Justices on Thursday, June 15 approved the government’s request to meet with top security officials in private to discuss confidential martial law information.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Philippine military chief Eduardo Año presented "secret" information and documents to the magistrates.

Lian Buan reports. –

What was supposed to be a day of oral arguments in the Supreme Court turned out to be a 6-hour long wait for the media, because the SC decided to meet privately with the government’s resource persons, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Military Chief Eduardo Año.

The Supreme Court doesn’t want to call this an executive session.
But it’s a proceeding that is done out of the public eye.

Aside from the justices, Lorenzana and Año, Solicitor General Jose Calida and one of the petitioners, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman are in the meeting.

JOSE CALIDA, SOLICITOR GENERAL: There was power point presentation, there were materials given and they answered questions from the justices. It’s different, this is the secret documents.

All three groups of petitioners were supposed to join the meeting.

But only Lagman was able to join the presentation with security officials.

EDCEL LAGMAN, ALBAY REPRESENTATIVE: I think that was the call of the honorable Supreme Court. I hope it was made in public, both the presentation and question and answer. But I would defer to the wise judgment of the honorable court.

But other petitioners remain skeptical about the decision.

NERI COLMENARES, LAWYER FOR MILITANTS GROUP: If we find out that the information is not fit for an executive session, that for me is unfair to the petitioners. Especially to us who were excluded in that meeting.

Marawi group lawyer Marlon Manuel says he considers it a positive thing that the Supreme Court even called the security officials to court, given that Calida wanted the proof of burden to be on them and not the government.

Lagman refuses to say whether there was something in the presentation of Lorenzana and Ano which raises questions about martial law in Mindanao.

The only thing left to do now is wait for the highest court of the land to explain it all in due time.

The Supreme Court is set to issue its decision early July.

Lian Buan, Rappler, Manila