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Duterte threatens to jail critics of martial law



President Duterte has threatened to jail critics of martial law, just days before the Supreme Court is set to rule on its legality.

The president imposed military rule throughout the island of Mindanao after Islamic State-affiliated militants went on the rampage in Marawi City on May 23.

The president has previously insisted he would ignore the findings of the court if need be, vowing only to listen to advice from the armed forces and police.

“It’s not dependent on the whim of the Supreme Court. Should I believe them?” he asked. “When I see the situation is still chaotic and you ask me to lift it? I will arrest you and put you behind bars.

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

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Government forces are continuing to battle terrorists holding out in Marawi, despite aerial bombardment and ferocious street-to-street fighting.

At least 400 people have been killed and nearly 400,000 people in and around the city have fled their homes.

The president has faced a backlash from opposition lawmakers, who recently asked the Supreme Court to reject the declaration of martial law, claiming it was unconstitutional.

The 1987 constitution imposes strict limits and controls on martial law to prevent a repeat of the abuses seen in the Marcos years.

It states that the Supreme Court should review the basis for proclaiming martial law, which is limited to an initial period of 60 days. If a president decides to extend martial law, congress have the authority to review and revoke it.

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