Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to "take back" his "reckless statement" about disregarding the decisions of Congress and the Supreme Court (SC) on the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
"We urge the President: take back what he said about disregarding Congress and the Supreme Court...We trust that the President realizes that such reckless statements only further add to apprehension felt by many citizens," Robredo said in a statement.
Palace has since clarified Duterte's statement, saying the president would not defy high court in case it ruled against the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte only issued such a statement because he believes the military and the police, and not the legislature or the judiciary, knew the real situation on the ground.
Under the Constitution, the Congress and Supreme Court may review the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ habeas corpus should any citizen file a complaint.
Robredo urged Duterte to "be an example to all public servants" and do good on his "oath to preserve and defend our Constitution."
"We cannot deny the power of Congress and the Supreme Court to review any proclamation of Martial Law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. This is a process borne out of our bitter experience under the (Ferdinand) Marcos dictatorship," Robredo said.
The vice president warned that should Duterte ignore the checks and balances mandated by the constitution, "our nation will once again sink into the quagmire of violence and abuse that prevailed during those dark times."
Duterte is the third Filipino president to declare martial law. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo imposed the military rule in Mindanao in 2009 after the Maguindanao Massacre, while Marcos started his decades-long dictatorship in 1972.