World

Duterte threatens to jail critics of martial law

MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to jail critics of his use of martial law in the violence-wrecked south, days before the Supreme Court is set to rule on its legality this week.

Mr Duterte declared military rule across the region of Mindanao, home to about 20 million people, in late May to quell what he said was a fast-growing threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group there.

The Philippine leader has insisted he would ignore the findings of the court, which has constitutional oversight, vowing to listen to only recommendations from the armed forces.

"It's not dependent on the whim of the Supreme Court. Should I believe them? When I see the situation is still chaotic and you ask me to lift it? I will arrest you and put you behind bars," Mr Duterte said.

"We can talk of anything else and make compromises maybe but not when the interest of my country is at stake."

Mr Duterte has faced a backlash from opposition lawmakers, who last month asked the Supreme Court to reject the declaration of martial law, which they have slammed as unconstitutional.

If a president decides to extend martial law, congress can review and revoke it. - AFP

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