Opposition: If Duterte is winning war on drugs, why martial law?
MANILA — Opposition lawmaker Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat could not understand President Duterte’s logic for once again raising the specter of martial law in his administration’s deadly campaign against illegal drugs.
“They seem to be confusing the people. The logic is unclear. I thought they are winning [the campaign] but why would there be so many threats [including martial law]?” Baguilat told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a text message.
For the opposition lawmakers calling themselves the “Magnificent 7” at the House of Representatives, Mr. Duterte’s statement should be watched carefully.
“Duterte’s threat to declare martial law is a menacing pendulum from outright denial to a veiled intention… A ‘virulent drug problem’ cannot be a constitutional anchorage for a martial law imposition,” Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said.
Lagman has emphasized that the President can declare martial law only by abiding the four restrictive provisions of the 1987 Constitution: if there is an invasion or rebellion where public safety requires the imposition; a congressional approval; a Supreme Court review; and that the duration of martial law will not exceed 60 days and any extension shall be determined by Congress.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, also a Magnificent 7 member, called the President a “blabbermouth when it comes to policy pronouncements.”
“It makes you wonder what is true and not. But these official ‘word speak’ should not be taken lightly even of President Duterte’s communications team will again dismiss it as all hyperbole. With the latest survey saying majority of Filipinos reject martial law, the President should instead focus on health, increasing wages, and addressing poverty instead of military rule,” Villarin said, adding:
“As the top leader speaking for all of us, we deserve a clear, coherent and straightforward ‘Duterte speak’.”
Asked if Mr. Duterte could muster military might if he declared martial law, Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano expressed his belief that the Armed Forces would “remain silent… until such time it is forced to decide.”
A former Marine officer, Alejano said that the public must take Mr. Duterte’s words seriously.
“He has been floating the idea and eventually he will go there because that’s what he desires. It will depend, however, on how much opposition there would be against martial law,” Alejano, another Magnificent 7 member, said. SFM
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