Lorenzana: Martial law nationwide 'unlikely'
PAt a press conference, Lorenzana explained that the Commander-in-Chief merely floated the possibility of declaring martial rule nationwide should communist insurgents inflict disruption.
The Defense chief said Duterte was just “very concerned” that the communists’ "anticipated" massive protests on September 21, the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the country, “might get out of hand.”
Lorenzana, however, still gave assurance that military enforcement all throughout the country was “very remote.”
"[Declaring martial law nationwide is] very remote to happen. The President is just very concerned that it might get out of hand that’s why he said [it]," Lorenzana said.
"But I don't think that the Left will be able to conduct the massive demonstration across the country, disrupting [or] disabling government or the lives of the people. Perhaps, that’s not going to happen," he added.
On September 9, Duterte threatened to declare martial law in the entire country, if the communist rebels cause "destruction and trouble" in the streets.
The President said he would welcome any demonstration as long as it would not hamper the public's lives.
"I will not hesitate to impose martial law all throughout the country and order the arrest of everybody," he said.
In an interview aired at state-run PTV4 on late Friday night, Duterte was mulling the suspension of work in government offices and classes in schools when the communist group conducts mass protests on the 45th anniversary of martial law.
Duterte, however, did not give a specific date for the declaration of "holiday," in anticipation of massive rally.
"At this early, I am announcing that I am ordering a holiday so no one will get hurt, in case of demonstration and it gets chaotic. There will be no work in government and classes are suspended that day," the Chief Executive said.
The President also appealed to communists not to vandalize or burn any property. He said they might instead express their outrage by burning his effigies.
"All I ask is this: Do not vandalize or burn any property. Just torch my effigy. Make an effigy that looks like me. You can create a thousand [of effigies]," he said.
But for Lorenzana, he was confident that the communist rebels are not capable to carry out wide protests.
Lorenzana said there was "no indication" that the group can launch mass demonstrations.
"How do I perceive their threats? We have not seen any. Our intel people, or even our field people, do not have any indication that there will be mass protests such as wide as the previous year during the time of [the late dictator Ferdinand] Marcos," he said.
A Customs Police operative documents the shabu seized at NAIA.