Duterte: Martial law won overwhelming mandate from SC
DAVAO CITY — President Duterte took a swipe at critics of the martial law being imposed in Mindanao even as he hailed the Supreme Court ruling affirming its legality.
During his visit to troops in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon province, on Thursday, Mr. Duterte said he would throw his full support behind security forces implementing martial law as long as they do not commit abuses.
“We are forced by circumstances. I have a mandate to do. Otherwise I could go to jail,” Mr. Duterte told the troops of the Philippine Army’s 403rd Infantry Brigade.
He said he was not happy to earn the distinction of being among the handful of Presidents to place a part of the country under martial rule.
“I want it ended as soon as possible but I must be assured also that the Filipino people and the nation (are) safe,” the Chief Executive said.
Mr. Duterte also lashed at critics of Proclamation 216, the order he had issued last May 23 which put the country’s second largest island under a 60-day military rule following attacks by Islamic State-inspired terrorists in Marawi City.
The fighting which has been going on for almost two months now has killed over 400 people, mostly militants, and emptied the Islamic city of virtually all its 200,000 residents.
The President hailed the high tribunal’s 11-3-1 ruling that thumbed down petitions against the martial rule.
“The majority of justices sustained me. Hindi naman ako mag-declare ng martial law if hindi pwede. (I would not have declared martial law if it was not possible to do so) We won an overwhelming mandate,” Mr. Duterte said.
Mr. Duterte brushed aside critics of the martial law, saying dissent was part of democracy.
He said placing the entire southern Philippines under martial rule was necessary “to save lives and save the Filipino nation.”
The President also reiterated his pledge to troops to upgrade their equipment and protect them against legal actions as they perform their duty in implementing martial law. “You will not be the last in this government of mine,” Duterte said, adding soldiers and police who might be imprisoned for doing their duty upon his order would be “pardoned with promotion to boot.”
The President was firm soldiers and police were not committing abuses while implementing martial rule in Mindanao. SFM
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