Duterte warns to declare martial law if SC stop drug war
PRESIDENT Duterte on Tuesday threatened Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno that he would declare martial law if the Supreme Court would hinder his war against illegal drugs. “Ikaw ang kingpin sa judiciary. Ako, presidente. Ako may trabaho, ikaw wala. Walang mga judges na nagpa-patrol ng daan. Walang mga sheriff ninyo na naghuhuli,” Duterte said in a scathing speech against Sereno in Cagayan De Oro City.
The President was in Cagayan De Oro City to visit the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division troops, especially those who were injured and killed during encounters with the New People’s Army (NPA) recently. “Please wag mo ako..hindi ako…di ako gago. If this continues, pigilin mo ako, sige pag nagwala, would you rather that I declare martial law?” he added.
The President’s statement came a day after Sereno questioned allegations that seven judges had been involved in illegal drugs. Sereno said only the high court was authorized to discipline members of the judiciary. Duterte warned Sereno not to create a constitutional crisis. “Ikaw warningan ko: don’t create crisis because I will order everybody in the executive department not to honor you,” he said. He reiterated his previous pronouncements that he was ready to stake his life, honor and even the presidency in his no-nonsense war against illegal drugs.
“Pag dumating panahon, we go to crossroads. You decide ako. Di ako sunod diyan and please, please, please, please do not create a confrontation, a constitutional war. Talo tayo lahat,” he said, referring to Sereno. He said naming publicly those allegedly involved in illegal drugs was part of his duty as the country’s chief executive. In her letter, Sereno advised judges not to surrender unless there was a warrant of arrest
“To safeguard the role of the judges as the protector of constitutional rights, I would caution them very strongly against ‘surrendering’ or making themselves physically accountable to any police officer in the absence of any duly-issued warrant of arrest that is pending,” Sereno told Duterte in her letter.
No arrest order
But Duterte clarified that he did not order the police to arrest those judges on the list but for the magistrates to show up at the Supreme Court, just as he enjoined police officers allegedly involved to report to PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa. “What did I say? Judges (who are on the list) should report the Supreme Court. I did not order them to be arrested,” he said, adding “I never accused anybody except to read their names.”
What he did when he read out the names of judges, police officers and local government officials who have connections with the illegal drug trade was “not an accusatorial utterance but rather it was in consonance with my duty as the President of the Philippines…” The President also said Sereno “must be joking” on asking for a warrant of arrest. “Magbigay ka warrant? Madam Chief Justice, you must be joking. You must be joking. Dalawa tayo abogado, lahat kayo sa SC you know how long it will take government to secure warrant of arrest,” he said.
He said it would take two or three months to secure a warrant of arrest and said cases would take years or “forever.” “You know, chief justice, there is a slaughter going on. Mind you, you are appointed by the government there in your office as chief justice at a time na wala ginagwa ang government. Why wait for warrant of arrest? There are 600k hundreds of thousands addicted,” he said. “Please do not create a constitutional issue,” he added.