WATCH | Duterte warns courts vs delaying projects with TROs

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Screengrab from video footage of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte's press conference in Davao City early Tuesday morning.

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — (UPDATE – 1:49 p.m.) President Rodrigo Duterte warned the judiciary on Tuesday against issuing temporary restraining orders to losing bidders, saying the practice has been delaying government projects.

“Do not, for Christ’s sake, do not play with TROs, kasi pagka ganu’n, TRO ka ng TRO tapos nadi-delay (because if you continue issuing TROs and delay projects), I’ve been telling you, do not force me to disobey you,” Duterte said at a press conference on arriving in Davao City from Beijing, where he attended the Belt and Road Forum.

Huwag ninyong gawin ‘yan, mag-aaway tayo, sigurado ‘yan (Don’t do that or we’ll be quarreling, that’s for sure),” he added.

He also said the practice has led to corruption within the judiciary.

“Do not do it,” Duterte said.

But Duterte’s threat drew a caution from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, which reminded him of the need to respect the rule of law.

IBP president Rosario Setia-Reyes also urged the leaders of the three co-equal branches of government — the executive, legislative and judiciary — to uphold their respective mandates, respect the Constitution and uphold the principle of separation of powers.

Earlier on Monday, a similar warning Duterte made to the judiciary drew concern from Fr. Ranhilio Aquino, dean of the San Beda College of Law where Duterte completed his law studies. The San Beda Law dean counseled Duterte to go slow on that stance of threatening the courts. (with a report from JV Arcena, News5)