Sotto, Pimentel: Killings of local execs won’t lead to martial law
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Aquilino Pimentel III have dismissed fears that the spate of killings of local officials could be orchestrated to set the stage for the Duterte administration’s declaration of martial law.
Sotto said he doubts that there would come a time that President Rodrigo Duterte would declare martial rule, saying there’s nothing new with rifts in local politics resulting to killings.
“No I don’t think so… The atmosphere does not call for it. Hindi naman bago ‘yung maraming away sa local eh. Matagal na ‘yan even during and after martial law before, ganun talaga, mainit talaga ang local politics sa atin eh,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the bicameral conference committee meetings on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Pasig City.
(Conflicts between local politics aren’t new. Those have been going on even during and after martial law before; local politics here is just intense.)
Pimentel, who is also president of the ruling political party PDP-Laban, said this claim is “impossible” and “politically intriguing.”
“Impossible. No way. No way that lives will be sacrificed just so the President can impose martial law nationwide. Hindi po tayo ganyan at hindi rin ganyan ang presidente po natin. ‘Wag tayong maniwala sa ganyang analysis. Masyadong politically intriguing naman ‘yang analysis na yan,” he said in an ambush interview with reporters.
(We are not like that and the President isn’t like that. Don’t believe in that analysis. It’s too politically intriguing.)
Sotto also defended Duterte and dismissed claims that the chief executive has “propensity for strongman rule.”
“Ang hirap naman, lahat na lang, ‘pag may nangyari, doon tayo kaagad nakaturo sa leader eh. ‘Wag naman ganun. (It’s difficult when something happens, we point to the leader immediately. Don’t do that.) Let’s take it at face value,” Sotto said.
Pimentel pointed out that these killings did not just happen under Duterte’s watch.
“This is a police matter and then to be fair, hindi lang naman ito nangyari sa term ni President Duterte. Actually kaya nga nanalo sa eleksyon si President Duterte kasi nga inaasahan ng taong-bayan na he can reimpose rule of law and law and order in the country,” he said.
(This didn’t happen only in President Duterte’s term. Actually, the reason why he won the election is the public trusts that he can reimpose rule of law and law and order in the country.)
The opposition Liberal Party (LP) earlier warned that the series of killings of local officials could be orchestrated to create an “atmosphere of lawlessness” that would give Duterte grounds for the imposition of martial law.
Mayor Ferdinand Bote of General Tinio town in Nueva Ecija was killed by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Cabanatuan City on Tuesday, a day after Tanauan Mayor Antonio Halili was shot by a sniper outside the Tanauan City Hall in Batangas during their flag-raising rites.
On Saturday afternoon, Vice Mayor Alexander Lubigan of Trece Martires City, Cavite province was killed after gunmen in a black pickup fired on his vehicle.
Bote and Lubigan had no known links to drugs, while Halili, known for his shame campaign for parading drug suspects and criminals around his city, was earlier included in the list of “narco-politicians” which he had denied. /je
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