Robredo to Duterte: 'Remain faithful' to Constitution, democracy

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday, May 30, urged President Rodrigo Duterte to respect the constitutional duty of Congress and the Supreme Court (SC) to review his declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

"We urge our President to take back what he said about disregarding Congress and the [SC] and be an example to all public servants in that whatever crisis our nation faces, we need to remain faithful to our Constitution and our democracy," Robredo said in a statement.

Duterte had said on Saturday, May 27, that Congress and the High Court cannot tell him what to do on the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.

In a speech before soldiers in Jolu, Sulu, on Saturday, he said he would only listen to security forces since they are on the ground. (READ: Duterte: Only AFP, PNP can tell me to end martial law)

"I will not listen to others. The Supreme Court justices, the congressmen, they are not here," Duterte had said.

Malacañang has since assured the public that the President will not "bypass the Supreme Court or the legislative" in relation to the martial law declaration.

In her statement, Robredo reiterated the constitutional duties of Congress and the SC on the declaration of martial law.  (READ: Questions you need to ask about martial law in Mindanao)

"We should not stifle the power of Congress and the SC to study, and if needed, terminate any proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus," the Vice President said.

"This process is borne out of our bitter experience under the Marcos dictatorship. Many of our countrymen fear that our nation will once again be stuck in the quagmire of violence and abuse rampant during those times," she added.

Robredo has been very vocal against the return of authoritarianism, citing in many speeches the abusive regime of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos. (READ: Martial law, the dark chapter in Philippine history)

The Vice President, however, took a softer stance in terms of the martial law declaration in Mindanao, which was prompted by the presence of the Maute terror group in Marawi City. (READ: Robredo supports Duterte's martial law declaration in Mindanao)

Robredo reminded lawmakers to perform their duty of reviewing the declaration after the Senate and the House did not convene to tackle Malacañang's martial law report.

Opposition senators have filed a resolution seeking a joint session on martial law. In the House, minority lawmakers said they would file their version of the resolution on Tuesday.

Cabinet members briefed the Senate on the martial law report on Monday, May 29. House members are set to have their own briefing on Wednesday morning, May 31. – 

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.