Duterte: I will ignore Supreme Court, Congress on martial law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 28) — President Rodrigo Duterte will ignore the Supreme Court and Congress in his implementation of martial law in Mindanao, despite powers given by the Constitution to the two branches.

In a speech to soldiers during his visit to Jolo, Sulu on Saturday, Duterte said, "Hanggang hindi sinabi ng pulis pati Armed Forces na safe na ang Philippines, this martial law will continue. Hindi ako makinig sa iba. Mga Supreme Court, ‘yung mga congressman, wala man sila dito."

[Translation: Until the Armed Forces and the police say that the Philippines is safe, this martial law will continue. I will not listen to anyone else, be it the Supreme Court, congressmen. They're not here.]

"Ba’t sila ba ang nagpapakamatay? Sila ba ang naghihirap dito? Sila ba ‘yung... They will suffer the wounds of war?" he added.

[Translation: Why, are they the ones who risk their lives? Are they the ones who suffer? Are they the ones who will suffer the wounds of war?]

In the 1987 Constitution, Congress has the power to revoke the proclamation of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Congress will also determine the period of extension of such proclamations, if necessary.

Read more: Congress required to convene on martial law declaration — Constitution framer

The Supreme Court can also review the factual bases for the proclamation of martial law and make a decision within 30 days.

But Duterte maintained that the two branches of government do not know what is happening out in the field.

"Hindi sila sundalo. Hindi nila alam kung ano ang nasa baba," he said.

[Translation: They are not soldiers. They do not know what is happening on the ground down here.]

Duterte also said martial law need not be explained by theories in books, as it is for the restoration law and order.

"Ang martial law, if you are a law-abiding, God-fearing citizen of this country, wala ka talagang problema [you would have no problem]," he said.

Supreme Court Spokesperson Theodore Te declined to react to the president's statement, saying the High Court does not comment on political statements.

Related: Chief Justice: Guard against abuse during martial law

Duterte urges Moros, NPA in fight vs. terrorists

In the same speech, Duterte urged the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and the New People's Army (NPA) to join the war against terrorists in Mindanao.

"Kung matagal pa ito at gusto ninyong sumali, makipagsapalaran sa Republika, I am offering them, kunin ko kayong sundalo," he said.

[Translation: If this takes longer than expected and you want to join us, in defense of the Republic, I am offering to recruit you as soldiers.]

He offered them the same pay and privileges, as well as free housing as regular soldiers.

The MILF in a statement Friday said that it respects the President's decision to impose martial law in the region, as long as it ensures that ceasefire mechanisms between the government and the Moro group are still respected.

Read more: MILF on martial law: Ensure ceasefire on ground

However, the Communist Party of the Philippines has condemned the declaration, saying that the NPA is being targeted along with other terrorist groups.

Duterte declared martial law in the entire Mindanao on May 23 after some 50 members of the local terror group Maute took over Marawi City in Lanao del Sur.

In his report to Congress, Duterte said  he declared martial law to address the Maute group's attempt to take over Mindanao as a caliphate  of the international terrorist group ISIS.

Read more: Duterte's martial law report: Maute wants full control of Mindanao