MANILA – Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday criticized anew President Rodrigo Duterte, who suggested that the imposition of martial law become the sole power of the president.
Robredo took offense at Duterte’s latest pronouncement, saying “the threat of a return to Martial Law and one-man rule is the worst Christmas gift to the Filipino people.”
“To refer specific provisions in the 1987 Constitution prohibiting such as a ‘reckless reaction’ to the Marcos regime is an insult to the experience of the Filipino nation that endured great suffering and hardship under the Martial Law regime,” Robredo said in a statement.
The vice-president also called “appalling” the president’s move to challenge the 1987 Constitution which he swore to uphold.
Duterte on Thursday lamented that the declaration of martial law is subject to approval of Congress and review by the Supreme Court under the 1987 Constitution.
“The martial law powers are subject to review by the Supreme Court and by Congress. Kung mag-declare ako ng Martial Law at may invasion ngayon o giyera, I cannot proceed on and on, lalo na kung may gulo, pupunta pa ako sa Congress, pupunta pa ako doon sa Supreme Court,” Duterte said.
“Eh kung magulo ang mundo? Kaya nga Martial Law na eh. Para isang tao na lang ang mag-direkta.”
Duterte said the safeguard against the abuse of the declaration of martial law placed in the 1987 Constitution, drafted following the two-decade rule of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, was a “reckless reaction.”
But Robredo said Duterte’s suggestion on martial law is something that she will oppose, even as the government is now planning to revise the charter.
“Let us remain vigilant against the threat of Martial Law, and fight against any move that will curtail our freedoms,” Robredo said.
“This is not a battle we will take sitting down. As Filipinos, we have demonstrated our courage to stand up and make our voices heard for the sake of protecting our freedom and fighting for the truth.”
Robredo once served as Duterte’s housing secretary but she resigned due to irreconcilable differences. After being barred from attending Cabinet meetings, Robredo said stayin in Duterte’s Cabinet was no longer tenable.
Robredo’s disagreement with the Duterte on many issues is widely seen as the reason for her departure from the Cabinet.
The vice-president, a member of the erstwhile ruling Liberal Party, is against Duterte’s controversial war on drugs, the reimposition of death penalty and lowering of the age of criminal responsibility, as well as his allowing of the burial of the late dictator Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Robredo has expressed readiness to be the voice of the opposition, saying she will oppose Duterte’s policies she deem detrimental to Filipinos. She however said she will still support Duterte’s policies aimed at uplifting the lives of Filipinos.
She has recently raised alarm over some of Duterte’s pronouncements, such as his admission that he personally killed criminals and his vow to carry out daily executions if the death penalty is revived.