Duterte: ‘I can operate with or without martial law’
President Rodrigo Duterte has said he could implement warrantless arrests “in good faith” even without martial law.
Duterte made the remarks on Friday night or a day before Congress convened to tackle his request for a martial law extension in Mindanao.
“Now, ‘pag wala na ‘yan (if there was no martial law) and if I have to arrest you without a warrant, I will arrest you without a warrant—with or without martial law—if I think that it is part of the war,” he said in an ambush interview in Davao City, the official transcript of which was provided by the Palace to the media.
The President said he could proceed with his administration’s fight against enemies of the state even without a martial law.
“Ako, I can operate with or without martial law. So, I have to do the — Sabi ko, I’ll just have to do my duty. It’s in my oath of office. I don’t need martial law,” he said.
“If I believe in good faith na kasali ka sa rebelde, huhulihin kita (that you are among the rebels, I will hunt you down) with or without martial law,” he added.
The House of Representatives and the Senate on Saturday convened in a special session to tackle the request of the President to extend the martial rule in Mindanao.
Duterte has asked Congress to extend his martial law until the end if 2017, saying the government has not quelled the rebellion on July 22, the end of the Constitution-prescribed 60-day limit to the declaration.
Malacañang on Saturday said the remarks of Duterte was only a way to show that the situation in Marawi was critical.
“The President is merely saying that at the onset of the rebellion in Marawi, situation has become critical, with the potential spillover of lawlessness and violent extremism to the rest of Mindanao, that necessitates the issuance of Proclamation 216,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
“As President, he must faithfully serve and protect the Republic. Failure to act on such a critical condition in Marawi is considered an impeachable offense under betrayal of public trust,” Abella added. IDL
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