Martial law declaration next week a ‘remote possibility’
The declaration of a nationwide martial law next week is a “remote possibility,” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday.
Wire service Agence France-Presse, which earlier came out with a report titled “Philippines’ Duterte may declare martial law next week: Defense chief,” has updated its story to remove its reference to the possibility of a declaration of martial law next week.
Duterte had earlier said he would be forced to declare a nationwide martial law if the communist rebels bring their armed struggle to the streets.
“Sinabi na rin ni Presidente ‘yan eh. Sabi niya, kung the… mga… ‘yung left, sabi niya, ‘Kung left will try to have a massive protest , magsunog sila sa kalsada , they will disrupt the country, then I might,” Lorenzana said in a Palace briefing.
(The President has said it. If the left will try to have a massive protest, burn roads, they will disrupt the country, then I might.)
“Sinabi na rin niya ang rason eh. But I don’t think — sa aking pananaw na- man, estimate ko — very remote naman mangyari (But I don’t think – in my opinion, my estimate– there is remote possibility ),” Lorenza na added.
Reacting to the President’s threat of martial law, however remote, AnakBayan Visayas spokesman Niño Olayvar said they were not surprised by Duterte’s pronouncements, saying this was the same “script” used by the late dictator, former president Ferdinand Mar- cos, who placed the country under martial law for several years.
“The script (Duterte) has is old already. We are not afraid of his threat to use the military to fight against people bold enough to stand against his administration as a dictator, a tyrant leader,” Olayvar said.
He said the Duterte administration transforms daily into a fascist dictatorship and he himself is becoming a tyrant.
Olayvar encouraged people to join a massive nationwide protest on September 21, the anniversary of the declaration of martial law by Marcos.
Meanwhile, human rights lawyer and martial law victim Democrito Barcenas warned President Duterte about making pronouncements on the possibility of declaring martial law in a nationwide scale.
“Mr. Duterte must be very careful in declaring martial law. I am not sure if he is serious or bluffing but if he indeed is serious in his pronouncements, then he is fanning the fire of people’s sentiments against martial law,” Barcenas said in a phone interview.
He said there will certainly be resistance, larger than his followers.
“He will meet steep and large resistance from all sectors in society. I don’t think the Roman Catholic Church is in favor of martial law, and civil society does not favor it. I am not even sure if he has the full loyalty of the entire Armed Forces. That is why he must be careful in declaring martial law,” Barcenas said.
Lorenzana, however, said the President was only “concerned that it (rebellion) might get out of hand.”
“So sabi niya, ‘I might declare martial law.’ But I don’t think the possibility that the left will be able to conduct a massive ano, massive demonstration across the country, disrupting the civil government or the lives of the people, eh hindi naman siguro mangyayari ‘yun (I don’t think that will happen),” he said.
Various groups have announced to stage mass protests on September 21 to condemn the brutal war on drugs, alleged police abuses and human rights violations, and the President’s plan to declare a nationwide martial law.
Militant groups have vowed to take to the streets on Sept. 21, the anniversary of the declaration of martial law by former dictator president Ferdinand Marcos, amid threats of a possible declaration of martial law nationwide by President Rodrigo Duterte. Malacañang, however, said a nationwide declaration of martial law next week is a “remote possibility.”