Duterte: Nationwide martial law not part of upcoming ‘radical changes’

Published June 7, 2018, 8:06 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Argyll Cyrus Geducos

President Duterte allayed fears of a possible nationwide martial law after he mentioned that there will be “radical changes” in the country’s peace and order any time soon.

PRESIDENT DUTERTE 3 DAYS FOR OFFICIAL VISIT IN SOUTH KOREA - President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech at NAIA 2 before leave the country for 3 days official visit in South Korea last night. The President urged to South Korea government to  strengthen partnership in defense and security, trade and investments, and political cooperation. (June2,2018) (photo by Manny Llanes)
President Rodrigo Duterte  (photo by Manny Llanes)

The President made the statement two nights after he warned criminals and erring government officials to behave or else he will not hesitate to exercise his extraordinary powers.

Duterte, in an interview in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, said that expanding the coverage of the existing martial law in Mindanao to a nationwide scope will simply not work. He said he would have to think of something else to fully address the problem of criminality in the country.

“No,” Duterte said Thursday evening when asked if he will declare a nationwide martial law.

“Martial law is not feasible. It won’t work. It won’t work… [I] Might think of something else aside from martial law,” he added.

According to Duterte, placing the entire nation under martial law would only divide the country, given the dark experience that the Filipinos had when martial law was last implemented nationwide during the time of former President Marcos.

“First of all, it’s going to be a divided nation. I don’t think everybody will agree with you, it’s going to divide the entire nation,” he said.

Duterte said that the only reason why martial law in Mindanao is working because there are no abuses committed by government forces to civilians unlike what happened almost 50 years ago.

“We have martial law in Davao, it is ordinary day for all of us there. Walang sundalo, walang abuso (No soldiers, no abuses), because we had already the experience,” he said.

“What really made it [Marcos’ martial law] so unpopular was the abuses committed—unbridled, unfettered. That cannot happen in my time. I cannot simply allow it,” he added.

“Diba sinabi ko this presidency, I put everything in the table. I will not allow any— somebody oppressing. But I will allow free speech to the fullest,” he continued.

Local government next

Meanwhile, Duterte said that he will soon deal with the local government units and quiz them about the criminality in their area that they should be addressing.

“I will deal with the local governments. Lalo na ‘yang (Especially that) complacency and the nonchalant attitude towards the problem of criminality,” he said.

“Nandito sila, sila dapat ‘yung mauna (They are here so they should be the first to respond). And so, tell me what’s happening here because I cannot just rely on my police to guard every inch of Cebu. The local executives, sila ang dapat mauna (they should be the first) to keep peace in my city or province,” he added.

Duterte said he might just strip local chief executives of their police powers if they will not be able to justify the issue of criminality in their area.

“So you answer me why is it deteriorating. Kung maraming nagdu-droga (If there is a drug problem), what are you doing about it? Or else I will just suspend you, or dismiss you administratively, and take away your power of supervision over sa (the) police,” he warned.

“And I will be unforgiving sa police at tsaka gobyerno. ‘Wag ninyo ako… hindi ko kayo palusutin (I will be unforgiving when it comes to the police and government officials. Don’t test me. I will not let you off the hook),” he added.

Government agencies

Meanwhile, Duterte said he cannot just reveal yet which agencies he decided to place under the Office of the President (OP) out of respect to the secretaries leading the said offices.

“Kung sabihin ko ngayon, masaktan ‘yung secretary na matatamaan (If I reveal it now, the secretary that will be affected will get hurt),” he said.

“We have a Cabinet meeting coming up, I also have a command conference, and that will the time that I will be ready to declare. Out of respeto sa kanila (respect to them),” he added.

On Wednesday, Duterte mentioned that he will place problematic government agencies under the OP so he can personally oversee them.