Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday, September 26, deplored that President Duterte is once again using the military to threaten and intimidate the people after the latter warned that he will utilize military force, if needed, to ensure peaceful, free, and fair elections in 2022.
Speaking on her weekly radio show over dzXL, the vice president said such a message has always been Duterte’s go-to statement when he likes to enforce a policy.
Robredo noted that the military has always helped “to maintain peace and order” during elections, especially in areas where election-related violence is rampant.
“Ever since naman ‘yung militar laging tumutulong. Ang hindi ko lang alam kung bakit ganun ‘yung tone, na parang ginagamit na tuloy ‘yung militar para takutin. Ginagamit na sila para takutin na kung hindi kayo susunod, ganitong gagawin. Kahit sa COVID, kahit sa pandemic, ganun din di ba (the military always helps. What I don’t understand is the tone, the military is being used to threaten. They are now being used to scare that if you will not follow, this is what will happen. Even with COVID, even with the pandemic, that’s how it is, right),” she said.
She was referring to the Chief Executive’s numerous public statements that threaten to use the military to enforce rulings and policies during the pandemic. She observed that the President made such statements whenever he announced the enforcement of quarantine classifications in the country.
Robredo said the President should not use the military that way because they are “professionals” who help anyone regardless of political affiliations.
“Sana h’wag silang gagamitin para takutin ‘yung mga mamamayan kasi iyong militar kakampi natin ‘yan eh. Hindi naman sila kailangan katakutan kasi kakampi natin ‘yan sa lahat ng bagay (Hopefully, they won’t be used to threaten the people because the military is our ally. They are not someone you should be scared of because they are our allies in all things),” she added.
She stressed that it is “wrong” for the President to invoke the deployment of the military in that manner.
“Mali iyon kasi ‘yung institusyon na ‘yan kahit sino nakaupo andiyan ‘yan, kahit sino yung nakaupo, ‘yung obligasyon niyan hindi naman nagbabago (That’s wrong because the institution no matter who’s sitting there, no matter who’s sitting, its obligation will not change),” she said.
Last week, Duterte warned of the use of military force to ensure the elections next year are free and peaceful. He said the people’s votes “will be counted correctly.”
It is not clear what prompted the President to issue such a warning.
The national elections will be held on May 9, 2022 with the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy (COC) to be held starting on Friday, Oct. 1 until Oct. 8.
The President already announced that he will run as vice president despite this being “against the spirit of the Constitution” as observed by some of the framers of the 1987 Constitution.