Palace says Duterte can declare martial law if terrorism spills over in NCR
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte could declare martial law if terrorism spills over in Metro Manila, Malacañang said Thursday, following the recent suicide bombings in Sulu province.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte was “very concerned” over the twin bombings in Indanan town, a known lair of the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.
Panelo echoed Duterte’s concern saying the President could “be compelled to use powers granted to me by the Constitution” if terrorism spills over elsewhere in the country.
“Kaya nga ‘di ba [sabi niya]: ‘Don’t force me to the wall. ‘Pag hindi kayo tumigil, I’ll be compelled to use powers granted to me by the Constitution, lalung-lalo pa ‘yung terorismo makarating dito sa Maynila,’” the Palace official said in a Palace briefing.
“Yon nga ang kinakatakot niya kasi may suicide bomber na. He’s very concerned of that. Kaya ‘di ba nag-warning siya sa enemies of the state, don’t force my hand into it. I will not allow the disintegration of this country,” he added.
Asked about the available powers of the President to quell the possible spillover of terrorism in other parts of the country, Panelo said: “Di ba sinabi ko na. He can declare martial law, he can declare revolutionary government, he can use other emergency powers under the Constitution to quell whatever violence or any attempt at destroying this Republic.”
“Pwede niyang gawin lahat yon. The military or all the Armed Forces of the Philippines, under the Constitution, are obligated to protect the people. The President can use the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” he said.
Asked if the President has reached that decision, Panelo said: “Sabi niya nga eh, he doesn’t want to be forced into it.”
At least eight were killed after a military camp in Indanan was attacked by two suicide bombers on June 28.
Maj. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, chief of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), earlier identified one of the suicide bombers as 23-year-old Norman Lasuca, who left his family in 2104 to join an Abu Sayyaf faction led by commander Hajan Sawadjaan.
The whole Mindanao region remains under martial law. /jpv
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