Malacañang: Duterte will not defy Supreme Court, Congress on martial law

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 29)Malacañang clarified President Rodrigo Duterte will not defy Congress and the Supreme Court on the implementation of Martial Law.

But Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the president will ultimately rely on advice from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in deciding whether to extend or lift it.

"As commander in chief he reserves the right to make decisions, but he's listening of course. He's a listening president," Abella said in a press briefing Monday.

In a speech before soldiers in Jolo, Sulu on Saturday President Duterte said he will ignore Congress and the Supreme Court in carrying out martial rule in Mindanao.

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

The statement goes against provisions given by the Constitution to the two other branches of government to review, and dismiss if necessary, the declaration of martial law.

Abella explained Duterte was just emphasizing that the military and police know the situation on the ground best.

"This is not meant to bypass the Supreme Court or the legislative. It simply means to say that those who have true and accurate reports on which he will depend on will be the military and the PNP," he said.

Abella added that the legislative and judiciary branches should be in dialogue with the military and the police.

"They should be in conversation and they can continue to make decisions, and they can continue to make recommendations," he said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines could not assess whether it will be necessary to extend Martial Law in Mindanao beyond its 60-day validity.

Malacañang said 61 terrorists, 19 civilians, and 18 government security forces have been killed in the Marawi crisis as of Sunday.

Read more: 61 terrorists killed, 124 civilians rescued in Marawi clearing ops

The military could not say exactly when the problem will be over, but according to AFP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, the military is seeking to resolve the situation the soonest possible time.

"We're seeking to end this as soon as possible. Our ground commanders have assured that the end is almost there," Padilla said.

Malacañang assured Filipinos again that human rights and the rule of law in the implementation of martial law in Mindanao.