Senators pounce on Duterte’s martial law warning
“All freedom-loving Filipinos should start preparing to fight another dictator,” Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said on Monday after President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to declare martial law, “to protect the Filipino people” and “to preserve my nation.”
“Soldiers should also start reviewing their constitutional mandate,” Trillanes, Duterte’s vocal critic, said in a statement.
But Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III quickly doused fears of the President declaring martial law, saying the Chief Executive would not do it without consultations.
“Don’t worry about martial law declaration. I’m sure the President would make a lot of consultations before doing that. And he will be reminded about the constitutional provisions about martial law,” Pimentel said in a text message to reporters.
Senator Risa Hontiveros warned the President of courting the people’s ire “with his threats of dictatorship.”
“I thought the government said it’s winning the war on drugs? So why is President Duterte contemplating now imposing martial law as a response to the drug problem? Why does the President seem so obsessed with dictatorial rule when the majority of the people want democratic governance?” Hontiveros said in another statement.
She cited the latest Pulse Asia survey which showed that majority of Filipinos did not agree that martial law was necessary to solve the country’s problems.
“There is no social and political base and/or support for martial law. It has no place in a democratic society. I am afraid that President Duterte is only courting the people’s ire with his threats of dictatorship,” the senator said.
“President Duterte must learn to trust democracy. Proper law enforcement, including standing behind the protection of human rights and observance of the rule of law are the best methods to protect the people from crime and illegal drugs,” Hontiveros added.
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan also warned that martial law imposition would just further divide the country.
“Hindi solusyon kundi dagdag na problema sa bayan ang pagdeklara ng martial law. Isinuka na ng mamamayan ang martial law at pinatalsik ang diktadura. Lalo lang magkakawatak watak ang bansa kung ipilit itong isubo muli sa sambayanan,” Pangilinan said.
“Ang hinahanap ng taumbayan ay solusyon sa pagtaas ng presyo ng mga bilihin, dagdag na sweldo at hanapbuhay at trabaho hindi diktadura o martial law,” he further said.
In a speech on Saturday night, Duterte said, “I have to protect the Filipino people. It’s my duty.”
He added, “If I have to declare martial law, I will declare it. Not about invasion [or] insurrection. Not about danger … I will declare martial law to preserve my nation. Period.”
“Wala akong pakialam diyan sa Supreme Court because the right to preserve one’s life and my nation, my country transcends everything else, even the limitations,” the President told members of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry. CBB/rga
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