Palace clarifies: Duterte won’t defy Supreme Court on martial law

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 29 2017 03:21 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte. File

MANILA – Malacañang on Monday said President Rodrigo Duterte would not defy the Supreme Court in case it rules 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.

“The president meant that those who are really, truly aware of the situation are the military and the police. This is not meant to bypass the Supreme Court or the legislative,” Abella said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

Asked whether Duterte will respect an SC ruling against martial law, Abella said, “Of course he will respect, but that will be based on his own considerations being the commander-in-chief. He is not disrespecting the SC.”

“He will listen and there will have to be a proper dialogue between the president [and the SC]. They will have a conversation regarding that,” he added.

In a speech in Jolo, Sulu Saturday, Duterte said he will not listen to the high court in case it decides that his martial law declaration has no factual basis. 

”Ngayon, kailan ito matapos? Ewan ko. Sabi nila 60 days? Punta ko sa Congress. I don’t know. Sabihin ng Supreme Court they will examine into the factual. Bakit? I don't know. Hindi sila sundalo. Hindi nila alam kung ano ang nasa baba,” he said.

“Hindi ako makinig sa iba. Mga Supreme Court, ‘yung mga congressman, wala man sila dito. Ba’t sila ba ang nagpapakamatay? Sila ba ang naghihirap dito? Sila ba ‘yung... They will suffer the wounds of war? Sila ba ‘yung nagtitiis? Sila ba ‘yung namamatay na nauubusan ng dugo, bleeding? Naghe-hemorrhage kay walang tulog, walang reinforcement. Hindi sila.”

While a petition against martial law has yet to be filed before SC, the Congress, dominated by Duterte’s allies, already signified it will not block the President’s martial law proclamation.

Under the Constitution, the Supreme Court may also review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within 30 days from its filing.

Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists, apparently aided by foreign fighters, laid siege to Marawi City on Tuesday last week following the government troops’ failed attempt to arrest top Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, considered by the US as one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists.

The clashes, which has so far claimed 100 lives, prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare a 60-day martial law in Mindanao.

Sixty-one of the fatalities in the nearly week-old crisis were rebels. Nineteen civilians were confirmed killed, while the government side lost 20 of its men in the clashes.