President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday night apologized to Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno for his "harsh words" last Tuesday which strained ties between the executive and the judiciary.
In a press conference in Davao City, Duterte said, "I apologize to the Chief Justice for the harsh words which were never intended."
"But ako kasi, because of the magnitude of the [drug] problem, it was my way of solving the problem within the ambit of my powers as president," he added.
The chief executive was referring to his threat to declare martial law if the Supreme Court continues to "interfere" in his campaign against illegal drugs and drug syndicates.
Sereno, in a letter addressed to Duterte last Monday, expressed her concern about the President's decision to reveal the names of 159 public servants, including seven judges, who allegedly have links to the illegal drug trade.
In her letter, Sereno told Duterte it is the high court, not the executive, which exercises administrative supervision over all lower courts. She also told the 4 judges still in the service not to surrender to authorities in the executive branch.
Duterte on Thursday said he revealed the list of judges, local officials and others suspected of being involved in the drug trade because the media kept "demanding" it from him.
He said that since he had already signed an executive order on Freedom of Information (FOI), part of his duty was to inform people about who was on the drug list.
Duterte said it was his duty to inform the people about the dangers in their communities, adding that drug addicts have raped and killed many innocent civilians.