Duterte using COVID-19 to declare martial law? That’s ‘funny,’ Palace says
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang laughed off allegations that President Rodrigo Duterte is using the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to declare martial law.
“Nakakatawa po yan dahil hindi lang naman sa Pilipinas may pandemic,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online press conference when sought for reaction on the allegations.
(That’s funny because it is not only the Philippines that is experiencing the pandemic.)
“E ang katotohanan po ang sabi ng Presidente, ang martial law ay gagamitin kapag nagpatuloy ang NPA [New People’s Army] doon sa kanilang pag atake sa sundalo, lalong lalo na yung mga sundalo na nagbabantay lang naman doon sa mga nagbibigay ayuda sa ating taumbayan,” he added.
(The truth is, the President said martial law would only be declared if the NPA continues to attack soldiers, especially those who are guarding the distribution of aid to the public.)
The President earlier threatened to declare martial law should lawlessness involving the communist rebels continue.
Duterte made the warning after two soldiers were killed and three others were wounded following an attack by the NPA during aid distribution in Aurora province.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemned Duterte’s threat, saying he should stop using the communist rebels to justify his penchant for a martial law rule.
“Wala pong pinagsasamantalahan ang Presidente dahil ang kanyang batayan naman ay Saligang Batas mismo,” Roque said.
(The President is not taking advantage of anything because his basis is the Constitution.)
The President may only proclaim martial law in case of invasion and rebellion when the public safety requires it, according to the 1987 Constitution.
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