Duterte rules out martial law, but claims power to impose it Jan 19, 2017 0 109 12345 REUTERSMANILAPhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday appeared to rule out declaring martial law, but said he could do so if he wished, and anyone questioning his justification should"shut up" and stay out of his business.The former prosecutor has threatened several times to invoke military rule to help his war on drugs and said he had the power to declare martial law, even though narcotics did not meet conditions required by the constitution.The mercurial leader has been criticised by opponents for acting in an authoritarian way and for showing willingness to circumvent the constitution. Some have ridiculed him for his contradicting remarks on whether he intends to pursue martial law."I will not declare martial law, and if I declare martial law, I will not make noise," he said in a speech on Wednesday."And if you ask 'what is the basis?', it's none of your business. Just shut up, all of you."The constitution states martial law can only be declared in the event of invasion or rebellion, when public safety requires it.Congress can revoke a president's declaration, as can the Supreme Court, but there is no scenario in the constitution outlining which of the two institutions would prevail should they disagree."Who decides now? Supreme Court says 'no', Congress says 'yes', who decides? The sitting president - me," he said."For me, it is not found in the constitution, it is not written there. But if I feel as a president that I have to preserve my country, I will declare martial law."He also said the military felt the security climate did not warrant martial law."The military is correct, there is no compelling reason really."Legal issues aside, Duterte's comments offer little clarity about why he is discussing martial law at a time when his approval ratings are high, political opposition is muted, and the government is touting success in its crackdown on drugs.Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Sunday criticised media for reporting Duterte's statements on martial law and for headlines that"sow panic and confusion". He called that"the height of journalistic irresponsibility".The presidential palace press corps hit back on Wednesday urging the government to stop chiding journalists."We are disturbed and appalled by the propensity of the officials of this administration to blame the media whenever the inflammatory statements of the president stir controversy or draw flak," the media group said in a statement."We hope that such behaviour is not an attempt to discredit or undermine the media." POST A COMMENT RELATED ARTICLES Suspended MH370 search could resume in future: Australia Jan 19, 2017 0 21 Cambodia PM files fresh defamation lawsuit against opposition leader Jan 19, 2017 0 19 Philippine cops abduct, kill South Korean businessman Jan 19, 2017 0 18 Muslims mourn death of rebel 'spiritual leader' in Thai south Bangkok Muslims across Thailand's restive"Deep South" are mourning the death of Sapae-ing Basor, the spiritual leader of a near 13-year rebellion against Bangkok's rule that has claimed more than 6,800 .. Philippines cancels permits of 4 more mining projects in green campaign MANILA The Philippines has cancelled the environmental permits for four more mining projects, including one planned nickel venture, as the world's top nickel ore supplier deepens a months-long crackdown on the .. One dead, five missing after Philippine ship catches fire and sinks Manila One crew member of a Philippine cargo vessel died while five went missing when their ship sank after catching fire, the coastguard said Wednesday. Rescue teams have been dispatched to search for five missing crew .. Indonesian police question Islamist leader amid threat of extremism REUTERS JAKARTA Indonesian police on Wednesday said they were investigating whether the controversial leader of a hardline Islamist group insulted the country's secular state ideology, as concern grows over the .. E Timor to hold presidential election in March: Official AFP Dili, East Timor East Timor will hold a presidential election on March 20, an official said on Wednesday, and Nobel Peace laureate Jose Ramos-Horta may try to make a comeback as head of state. It will be the third .. Duterte accuses priests, bishops of 'hypocrisy' Manila Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday taunted the country's Catholic priests and bishops to take highly addictive crystal methamphetamine, as he accused them of"hypocrisy" for criticising ..