MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday mentioned he would respect the Supreme Court’s decision on the legality of his martial law declaration within Mindanao, just like the High Tribunal is set to start oral arguments next week.
“Of course. We are bound by rules. Supreme Court na ‘yan,” President Rodrigo Roa Duterte mentioned in an ambush interview within Sultan Kudarat.
The President’s newest statement appeared to be a softening of his stance to the SC, following expressing in a speech in Jolo, Sulu on May 27 that he wouldn’t listen to the high court just in case it would rule that his martial law declaration had no factual basis.
Duterte had previously explained that only the military as well as the police could tell him when to lift the 60-day martial rule he had declared in Mindanao as they had been the ones most familiar with the situation on the ground.
The President nonetheless expressed hopes that this high court “would take into account the fighting [that is] going on, and what’s behind it.”
“Ang nakakatakot ‘yung ISIS,” he added.
Duterte declared martial rule over Mindanao after clashes erupted between government soldiers and terrorist groups believed to be backed by the Islamic State.
Government had earlier mentioned the terrorist Maute and also Abu Sayyaf groups, allegedly aided by foreign jihadists, had been planning to establish an Islamic State wilayat (province) in Mindanao.
Duterte’s martial law proclamation had readily sparked fears that military abuses during the dictatorship of deposed strongman Ferdinand Marcos might happen again.
The President, however, stated his critics should not liken him to “past leaders,” adding which he had absolutely no intend to use martial law as a tool to stay in power beyond his term.
At least 5 petitions are already submitted before the Supreme Court by Duterte’s political opponents as well as critics challenging Duterte’s declaration.
2 petitions would like to compel Congress to convene in a joint session to review the President’s proclamation, while 3 are seeking its nullification due to questions on its basis.
More than 200,000 residents have fled while at least 209 have died, among them 134 terrorists, 45 troops and 30 civilians, since clashes began in the city.