President to ignore SC on martial law

"Duterte vows to ignore Supreme Court on martial law" is the headline of a piece of news published by GMA News on May 28, 2017. The news writer, Agence France-Presse, continued "President Rodrigo Duterte has said he will ignore the Supreme Court and Congress as he enforces martial law across Mindanao, even though the constitution gives them oversight." (SOURCE:

It is the opinion of Project Jurisprudence that this comment by the President of the Republic of the Philippines is covered by his freedom of expression but is contaminated with disrespect for the principle of separation of powers and checks and balances solemnly enshrined in our Constitution. If the President makes good on this threat, our country will face a huge constitutional crisis that may incite the people to move against the present administration. Project Jurisprudence hopes that this is merely one of the President's funny stories. The principle of separation of powers and checks and balances is one that is essential to the orderly functioning of a democracy, especially the three Great Branches of the government. Justice Brion, in his separate concurring opinion in IPAP v. Ochoa (G.R. No. 204605; July 19, 2016), had occasion to point out, "The Philippine government operates under the complementary principles of separation of powers and checks and balances. The three functions of government are concentrated in its three great branches; with each branch supreme in its own sphere: the Legislature possesses the power to create laws that are binding in the Philippines, which the Executive has the duty to implement and enforce. The Judiciary, on the other hand, resolves conflicts that may arise from the implementation of these laws and, on occasion, nullifies acts of government (whether legislative or executive) that have been made with grave abuse of discretion under the Court's expanded jurisdiction in Article VIII, Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution." (SOURCE:

Justice Brion continued, "To be sure, one branch cannot usurp the power of another without violating the principle of separation of powers, but this is not an absolute rule; rather, it is a rule that operates hand in hand with arrangements that allow the participation of one branch in another branch's action under the system of checks and balances that the Constitution itself provides. The Constitution in fact imposes such joint action so that one branch can check and balance the actions of the other, to ensure public accountability and guard against the tyrannical concentration of power."