Palace on martial law threat: It was just a rhetorical question

President Rodrigo R. Duterte poses with the 8th Infantry Division troops during his visit at Camp Vicente Lukban in Catbalogan, Samar on August 8, 2016.(MNS photo)

President Rodrigo R. Duterte poses with the 8th Infantry Division troops during his visit at Camp Vicente Lukban in Catbalogan, Samar on August 8, 2016.(MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Malacañang on Wednesday 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,” Communications secretary Martin Andanar said on a statement.

“We have an Action Man for a President who believes justice delayed is justice denied,” Andanar added.

On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to stay out of his way in his war against illegal drugs.

“Please wag mo ako..hindi ako…di ako g*g*. If this continues, pigilin mo ako, sige pag nagwala, would you rather that I declare martial law?” Duterte said.

“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,” he added.

(Please, I’m not a [expletive]. If this continues and you stop me, would you rather I declare martial law?

You are the kingpin of the judiciary. I am the president. I have a job to do, you don’t. There are no judges patrolling the streets. None of your sheriffs catch anyone.)

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 (I am warning you): don’t create crisis because I will order everybody in the executive department not to honor you,” he said.

Deapite these statements, Andanar said Duterte was aware of his limitations and respects the separation of powers among the branches of government.

“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 said.

“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 added.(MNS)

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