Duterte: Only AFP, PNP can tell me to end martial law

Duterte: Only AFP, PNP can tell me to end martial law
President Rodrigo Duterte says Congress and the Supreme Court cannot tell him what to do because they are 'not the ones risking their lives' on the battlefield

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte seemingly dismissed provisions in the 1987 Constitution that allow Congress and the Supreme Court (SC) to assess any martial law declaration, saying he would only listen to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Duterte, in a speech before troopers of Joint Task Force Sulu at Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo, Sulu on Saturday, May 27, said only the AFP and the PNP can tell him to end martial law.

Duterte had declared martial law in Mindanao last Tuesday, May 23, following clashes between government forces and Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

“Kailan ito matapos? Ewan ko. Sabi nila, 60 days. Punta ako sa Congress, I don’t know. Sabihin ng Supreme Court, they will examine into the factual [basis for the declaration] – bakit? I don’t know. Hindi sila sundalo. Hindi nila alam kung ano ang nasa ‘baba,” the President said on Saturday.

(When will this end? I don’t know. They said, 60 days. I’ll go to Congress, I don’t know. The Supreme Court will say they will examine the factual basis for the declaration – why? I don’t know. They’re not soldiers. They don’t know what’s happening on the ground.)

“Hanggang hindi sinabi ng pulis pati Armed Forces na safe na ang Philippines, this martial law will continue. Hindi ako makinig sa iba. ‘Yang Supreme Court, ‘yang mga congressmen, wala naman sila dito. Bakit, sila ba ang nagpapakamatay? Sila ba ang naghirap dito? Sila ba ‘yung – have they suffered the wounds of war? Sila ba ‘yung nagtitiis?” Duterte continued.

(Until the police and the Armed Forces say the Philippines is already safe, this martial law will continue. I won’t listen to others. The Supreme Court, the congressmen, they’re not here. Why, are they the ones risking their lives? Are they the ones suffering here? Are they – have they suffered the wounds of war? Are they the ones enduring this battle?)

Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution says that the President may “in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it” place the country under martial law or suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Duterte ordered both under Proclamation No. 216.

The 1987 Constitution also states martial law must not exceed 60 days, and any extension has to be approved by Congress.

Congress, dominated by Duterte’s allies, also has the power to revoke the declaration, though lawmakers have said it is “unlikely” that they will do so. (READ: Questions you need to ask about martial law in Mindanao)

Duterte has since complied with the requirement of the 1987 Constitution that he submit a report to Congress within 48 hours after declaring martial law. In his report, Duterte said martial law in the entire Mindanao is necessary because of the Maute Group’s intent to establish an Islamic State (ISIS) province there.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the SC may also review a martial law declaration following an “appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen.” (READ: CJ Sereno to Ateneans: Make sure past Martial Law horrors not repeated)

Crafted after the EDSA People Power Revolution that ousted the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, the 1987 Constitution highlights the role of other branches of government in the martial law declaration. The provisions are meant precisely to prevent grave abuse and stop another ruler from tinkering with civil rights. (READ: Martial Law, the dark chapter in Philippine history– Rappler.com

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