Duterte says won’t declare martial law despite drug menace
President Rodrigo Duterte said imposing martial rule is remote despite serious concerns over the scope of illegal drugs in the country.
Duterte made the statement on the 44th anniversary of the declaration of martial law during his visit at Camp Elias Angeles San Jose in Pili, Camarines Sur on Wednesday.
Showing a long list of alleged narco-politicians, Duterte said the drug problem has corrupted public officials, personnel, judges, members of the National Bureau of Investigation and the police.
“How can I overcome this? I cannot arrest them (and) kill them. None. I don't want martial law anyway,” said Duterte.
“This will destroy your children, your grandchildren and the next generation,” he said.
In a separate media forum, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said Duterte does not intend to declare martial law.
“Believe me, from what I have seen, he will not go for martial law. There are other (ways)… that would support his (campaign)… including the declaration of a simple state of lawless violence in Mindanao right now,” Esperon said at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay at Cafe Adriatico.
“In fact, many have recommended the declaration of more stringent set ups, including the declaration perhaps martial law…but he did not go for it,” the former Armed Forces chief-of-staff said.
On Sept 6, Duterte declared a state of emergency to prevent lawless violence in the country. This gave him powers to call out the military in addressing possible outbreak of violence in key cities after the Sept. 2 blast in Davao City that killed 15 people at the Roxas night market.
In his speech, Duterte directed Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to look into his latest list of 1,000 narco-politicians.
As a former prosecutor, Duterte said he assessed the list one by one to determine if evidence would warrant the filing of cases against the personalities.
Duterte can be cited for using an iron-clad strategy in addressing crimes and illegal drugs, but he is not a dictator, Esperon added.
“So should we call him a constitutional dictator or do we call him a forceful law enforcer? Enforcer of the laws of the land, enforcer against criminality, enforcer for good governance,” Esperon added. DMS