Duterte says declaring martial law 'useless'

Rose Carmelle Lacuata, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 29 2016 05:51 PM

President Rodrigo R. Duterte presides the command conference at the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) headquarters in Zamboanga City. Kiwi Bulaclac, Malacanang Photo/File Photo

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated on Thursday he is not keen on declaring martial law, which he said is "useless."

"Early on, ganito 'yan, para sa akin (it's like this, for me), useless 'yang Martial Law, Martial Law. I mean kung gusto ko talaga. But only if the military and the police, which is really the two factors that would make or unmake you, is if they believe in your cause," Duterte told ABS-CBN News.

"No need really. If everything is in shambles, kung tonelada tonelada na (in tons already), all you have to do is declare a state of lawlessness. What's the use of Martial Law? For what?" he added.

According to Duterte, he would only declare martial law in case of foreign invasion.

"Even if it would really... except maybe invasion from another country. Rebellion, insurrection? Wala 'yan. I said, you just declare war against them. You don't have to declare war against the Republic of the Philippines," he said.

He also reiterated that he wants the constitutional provision on the declaration of martial law amended, noting that the Supreme Court may not agree with Congress' approval of the measure. 

"Ano talaga sa Congress 'yan, pulitiko eh. Ngayon, pupunta ako sa Congress, go ahead, another 60 days. Tapos sabihin nitong Supreme Court, the factual basis does not exist. It's pure fiction in the mind, so it is not lawful to declare martial law. So what happens? Sino ngayon mamili, eh di ako na?" Duterte said.

(Congress is made up of politicians. Now, if I go to Congress, they say, go ahead, another 60 days. Then the Supreme Court says the factual basis for martial law does not exist. It's pure fiction in the mind, so it is not lawful to declare martial law. So what happens? Who will choose, it would be me?) 

"Ako, ibalik niyo na lang 'yung 1935 Constitution," Duterte added.

(I think we should revert to the 1935 Constitution [on martial law].) 

Duterte earlier said he he wants the declaration of martial law to be the sole prerogative of the president.

Under the 1987 Constitution, Congress and the Supreme Court have the power to review the declaration of martial law.

Duterte cited the alleged inefficiency of having Congress and the high court affirm or reject the declaration.

Duterte has been talking about declaring martial law as an option. In August, he asked Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno if the chief magistrate would rather have the president declare martial law after the chief justice opposed Duterte's publicly naming of judges allegedly involved in drugs. 

In October, Duterte once again floated the idea of declaring martial law because of the illegal drug trade in the country, during a meeting with the Jewish community at the Beit Yaacov Synagogue in Makati City.