The Supreme Court has today (Tuesday, July 4) upheld as constitutional President Duterte’s imposition of 60 days of martial rule across Mindanao.
Military rule was declared on May 23, just hours after hundreds of Islamist terrorists seized control of Marawi City under the black flag of the Islamic State.
Eleven members of the 15-member court bench ruled the order valid. Three agreed with it, but wanted to limit the area of the decree, and one judge opposed it.
“With the Supreme Court decision, the whole government now stands together as one against a common enemy,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he was hopeful the battle with the jihadist fighters would be over before the 60-day period of martial law ends.
The battle to clear the city has been boosted by the presence of two Australian P-3C Orion surveillance planes, manned by joint Australian and Philippine crews.
US special forces are also involved, providing technical assistance, and today it was announced that the Pentagon had approved a major replenishment of munitions for the troops on the front line.
Today the army announced that it had captured another militant stronghold, a century-old college set up by Americans that the Maute brothers attended.
Army spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera, said troops had also recovered the body of a jihadist believed to be from Singapore, bringing to 11 the number of foreign fighters killed in the city.
More than 400 people, including 337 militants and 85 members of the security forces, have been killed in the fighting in Marawi. Forty-four civilians have been confirmed dead, including five apparently beheaded by militants.
Nearly 400,000 people have fled the fighting, and an unknown number are being held as human shields by militants.