“Martial law remark, just a rhetorical question.”
This was the assurance of Malacañang yesterday as it allayed the fears of the public over a possible declaration of martial law under the Duterte administration.
“The President merely asked a rhetorical question and said it under the context that his anti-drug campaign cannot wait for the slow wheels of justice -- PH style,” Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said in a statement to Palace reporters.
“We have an action man for a President who believes justice delayed is justice denied,” Andanar added
“He is the type, who at the onset of his presidency, simply wants to hit the ground running and rid society of drugs, crime, and corruption with urgency,” the Palace official said.
Earlier, in his visit to the troops of the 4th Infantry Division at Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City late Tuesday afternoon, Duterte warned Sereno not to create a constitutional crisis amid his campaign against illegal drug trade.
The remarks stemmed from Sereno’s letter to the President asking for his source in tagging seven judges as narco-officials. The Chief Justice also asked Duterte to allow the SC to do the investigation on the alleged narco-judges
“With all due respect, Mr. President, we were caught unprepared by the announcement. It would matter greatly to our sense of constitutional order if we were given the chance to administer the appropriate preventive measures without the complications of a premature public announcement,” Sereno wrote.
Andanar assured that Duterte is very much aware of the constitutional separation of powers.
“The President has made use of executive powers at his disposal, knowing fully well the limits of these powers, and without undermining the constitutional separation of powers nor infringing upon the rights of citizens. He is working very hard to deal with the drug menace head-on, by removing fear from among the civilians and bringing it back to the hearts of drug protectors, criminals and corrupt officials,” he said.
Andanar also stressed that President Duterte did not create a constitutional crisis when he named the judges on his narco-list.
“When the President referred the named judges on his consolidated list to the Supreme Court, he was acknowledging the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court over the judges. He recognizes the separation of powers, and even asked the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court not to create a constitutional crisis,” he said.
“Andanar also assured that Duterte “believes in the rule of law” and “advocates for judicial independence.”
“As President, he has the sworn duty to uphold and defend the Constitution. The words and action of the President all point to these,” he said.
Protest vs Marcos burial
Meanwhile, Malacañang bared yesterday that President Rodrigo Duterte will only dispatch a minimum number of policemen to direct traffic flow even as protesters will be allowed to demonstrate against his decision to bury the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared this morning that he will allow public demonstration protesting the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos, and will assign only a minimum number of policemen to direct traffic,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in his statement.
Various sectors have urged Duterte not to allow Marcos’ burial at the Libingan because of the violations against human rights the late strongman committed during his regime that spanned for over 20 years.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said that Malacañang will oppose any legal moves to stop the burial since Marcos qualifies to be interred at the Libingan as a president and as a soldier.
It will be recalled that Marcos died in Honolulu, Hawaii in September 1989. His preserved remains, brought home in 1993, lie inside a glass coffin and on public display at the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
But on Sept. 18, Marcos is expected to be laid to rest after 27 years.
Interment is set starting on Sept. 15 to Sept 17 in Ilocos Norte culminating with the Sept. 18 burial at the Libingan in Taguig City.