Duterte vows no martial law in remainder of term

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By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte said he will not declare martial law in the second half of his term, but he will use the “strongest tools” to deal with crimes in the country, especially drug trafficking.

“It’s about halfway of term now exactly….If I cannot do miracles for this country, then I will just say that you know let us just respect each other….Do not force me to do something….” Mr. Duterte said in a televised speech during the birthday and thanksgiving party of former foreign affairs secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano in Davao City last Sunday night, Oct. 28.

He added: “I will not declare martial law but just like what I’m doing, I will go for the strongest tools, political tools in my hand. Drug problem, it will remain the same especially if you are a drug lord, I would be happy to kill you. My God, I will be happy to kill you. Just don’t f___ with my country.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are set to start their assessment of the implementation of martial law in Mindanao this week to decide whether it should be extended for another year.

Also last Sunday, National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison said Mr. Duterte will “declare martial law nationwide before the May 2019 mid-term elections.”

“They have decided to make the martial law proclamation as early as January 2019 in order to ensure that they control and determine the results of the elections,” Mr. Sison also said in his statement.

He added that Mr. Duterte and his allies “are mobilizing government agencies to hype the threat of a supposed rolling ouster plot by Reds, yellows and unreliables within the AFP and PNP and to step up the vilification campaigns, intrigues and repressive actions.”

Mr. Duterte, in his remarks in Davao City, also challenged Mr. Sison to give him reasons for the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to go back to the negotiating table.

“Communist, give me — give me a good — Jose Maria Sison give me a good reason to go back to the bargaining table. If there is none or if it’s just a repeat of what we have discussed earlier, then that will not suffice,” he said.