Duterte says police, military ready to face disruptive rallies
President Rodrigo Duterte has warned if planned protest actions by some groups against his administration would become disruptive, the military and the police would surely face them.
In an interview aired over state-run People's Television Network on Thursday night, Duterte said he would declare a holiday whenever a huge demonstration would take place to avoid any untoward incident.
"At this early, I am announcing that I am ordering a holiday so that no one will get hurt (no untoward incident) may happen during demonstration, no chaos," Duterte said, noting that there will suspension of work in government as well as classes.
Duterte said he would not care even if the protesters occupy public places and burn his effigies but he warned them not to destroy or vandalize any property.
"(D)o not take the law into your own hands...don't allow armed red army to infiltrate you. Don't dare to destroy (any property), because if you do it, the next thing, you would face the military and the police," Duterte said.
Duterte did not say a possible big demonstration could take place.
But in a Mindanao Hour briefing in Malacanang on Friday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Duterte could be referring to the possible protest on September 21 when different groups are expected to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
With Duterte's previous pronouncements he might declare martial law nationwide if the communist rebels would create atrocities in other parts of the country and asked if he would make true his threat, Lorenzana said, "in my view, based on my estimate, it's very remote that it will happen."
He also downplayed the capability of leftist rebels to sow disruption during demonstrations.
"But I don’t think the possibility that the left will be able to conduct a massive demonstration across the country, disrupting the civil government or the lives of the people, I don't think it will happen," he said.
Lorenzana said when demonstrations take place, particularly in Metro Manila, the military would be ready to assist the police.
"The President has his disposal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to quell any disturbances," he said.
The state of lawlessness, which Duterte declared in September last year, has not been lifted
Lorenzana said under the state of lawlessness, the government can put up checkpoints, establish curfews and arrest people and hold them for 36 hours.
"And then we have to let them go if we cannot find any culpable violation of law and we cannot charge them with any cases, we can let them go," he said. Celerina Monte/DMS