By: Elena Grace Flores
Duterte threatens the Supreme Court not to create a crisis or else he will order everybody in the executive department not to honor her after Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s expressed her sentiments through a letter regarding the lists of judges allegedly involved in illegal drugs. The president was obviously offended with Sereno’s actions and said that he did not appreciate being “ordered” around by the Supreme Court.
Duterte even asked if Sereno would prefer him to declare martial law when things goes out of control – then kill Filipinos? He said that he is grieving for the premature deaths caused by drug addicts and Sereno must not stop him on his strategy to stop these drug-related crimes. He said these statements while speaking before the troops in Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City.
Duterte cannot cite them both being lawyers and the lengthy process of getting arrest warrants. It looks like he’s justifying that it is faster to kill suspects than give them due process since he is beating his 6 months promise to stop illegal drugs.
However, threatening the Supreme Court with martial law seems to put Duterte into a bad light because the 1987 Constitution says that the declaration of martial law can be scrutinized and reviewed by the Supreme Court, so he has no option there with Sereno’s opposing his drastic ways.
It reads: “The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing,” reads Article VIII, Section 18 of the Constitution.
The state of martial also “does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or the legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ”; as researched by Rappler.