Duterte wants to change constitutional provision on declaring martial law
President Rodrigo Duterte has said the constitutional provision which calls for approval from both houses of Congress before declaring martial law needs to be changed.
Speaking at the anti-drug campaign in Pampanga on Thursday, Duterte slammed those who crafted the 1987 Constitution where the provision of the 1935 Constitution on martial law was modified.
The president questioned how it would be settled if the findings of the Supreme Court would be contrary to Congress.
"Where are you going to place me? That's why there's really a need for me to change that (constitutional provision)," Duterte said as he assured safety measures would be included.
Duterte did not disclose these measures.
He said changes in the martial law provision was a "reckless reaction" against former President Ferdinand Marcos, who placed the country under such a rule from 1972 to 1986 for about a decade.
He said the 1935 Constitution, which was the basis of Marcos' declaration of Martial Law in 1972, was not the late president's own making but by people like former Senators Claro Recto and Quintin Paredes.
The provision on martial law under the 1935 Constitution was adopted in the 1973 Constitution during Marcos regime.
The provision in the 1935 charter states, "The President shall be commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the Philippines, and, whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, insurrection, or rebellion. In case of invasion, insurrection, or rebellion or imminent danger thereof, when the public safety requires it, he may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under Martial Law."
Under the 1987 Constitution, Duterte said his hand is tied if he wants to declare martial law due to invasion or war.
"The martial law powers are subject to review by the Supreme Court and by Congress. If I would declare martial law and there is invasion or war right now, I cannot proceed on and on...I would still go to Congress, I would still go to the Supreme Court. If there is anybody who'd file a complaint to look into the factual (basis), if it's true, which you could not do," Duterte said.
He said the reason martial law would be imposed is chaos.
The president has been pushing for Constitutional amendments, particularly in the form of government from democratic republican state to federal.
He also wants to further liberalize economic provisions of the Constitution by increasing foreign ownership in public utilities. But he does not want foreigners to own land.
If that move to change the constitution would push through, all its provisions could be subject to changes, including the provision on Martial Law. Celerina Monte/DMS