Eluding impeachment a motive for Duterte’s martial law declaration?
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday admitted that aside from terrorism, another threat had compelled him to declare martial law in Mindanao—the threat of impeachment.
“Because of the critical conditions as assessed by your military and the defense department, I had to declare martial law. Otherwise, I would be the candidate for impeachment also,” Duterte said in a speech before the troops at Camp Ranao in Marawi City, the official transcript of which was provided by Malacañang.
“Mas mabigat iyan, puwede akong maalis sa puwesto at nakakahiya,” he added.
(That’s a bigger problem, I could be removed from office, and that would have been embarrassing.)
But Duterte did not explain how his decision not to declare martial law would warrant an impeachable offense under the 1987 Constitution.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the President can be impeached for “culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.”
Despite petitioners’ insistence that the martial law declaration had no legal basis, the Supreme Court on July 4 voted to uphold it.
In his letter transmitted to Congress after his declaration, the President said he was prompted to place the entire Mindanao under military rule after the Islamic State-inspired Maute group attacked Marawi City on May 23 in a bid to establish a caliphate there.
The 60-day limit for the President’s martial law will lapse on July 22, the same day Congress will convene in a joint session to deliberate on his request for an extension.
In his letter to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte on July 18 said he wanted the extension of martial law in Mindanao until the end of 2017. IDL/rga
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