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Palace: Duterte was only doing his duty

By: Argyll Cyrus B. Geducos

Malacañang said yesterday that President Duterte was only doing his duty to preserve and protect the country when he declared martial law in Mindanao two months ago.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the May 23 Marawi City attack by the pro-Islamic State Maute Group prompted Duterte to sign Proclamation No. 216.

Proclamation No. 216 placed Mindanao under martial law and suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus on the island for 60 days.

“The President is merely saying that at the onset of the rebellion in Marawi, situation has become critical, with the potential spillover of lawlessness and violent extremism to the rest of Mindanao, that necessitates the issuance of Proclamation 216,” Abella said.

According to the Palace official, Duterte has not committed any impeachable offense, and there is no threat of impeachment that made him declare martial law in Mindanao.

“As President, he must faithfully serve and protect the Republic. Failure to act on such a critical condition in Marawi is considered an impeachable offense under betrayal of public trust,” he added.

Duterte, during a surprise visit to troops fighting the Maute Group in Marawi Thursday, said that he would be facing impeachment if he did not declare martial law.

“Inditindihin naman ninyo na trabaho ko Presidente. Because of the critical condition as assessed by your military and the Defense department, I had to declare martial law,” Duterte said Thursday.

“Otherwise, I would be the candidate for impeachment also. Mas mabigat ‘yan. Pwede akong maalis sa pwesto at nakakahiya,” he added.

Duterte has formally asked Congress to extend martial law for another five months or until December 31 as Proclamation No. 216 expired yesterday.

The Chief Executive, in an ambush interview in Davao City Friday, said he did not ask for a five-month extension of martial law but it was the recommendation of the Department of National Defense, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine National Police.

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