By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter
President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday, June 7, said declaring martial law is “not feasible” because it will only “divide the nation.”
“Martial law is not feasible. It will not work. It’s going to be a divided nation…It’s going to divide the nation,” Mr. Duterte said in a media interview in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu on Thursday evening, June 7.
Last Tuesday, the President warned that there will be “radical” changes “in the coming days.” When asked to clarify his statement, he said “radical change” will involve the “placing of corrupt agencies under the Office of the President (OP).”
He likewise said an office “headed by a secretary” will be placed under the OP, but he refused to name it because the official “might get hurt.”
Also on Thursday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said that “Proclamation No. 55,” which declares a state of national emergency on the account of lawless violence in Mindanao, is “still in effect.”
Mr. Roque also explained during his press briefing that “perhaps” the President “was referring to the fact that these (martial law and a declaration of national emergency) are both powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief. And that they both entail the military taking on active role in what is purely civilian. Because the calling out power is when you call out the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and not just rely on civilian institutions, such as the Philippine National Police (PNP).”
As far as the powers of the President are concerned as Commander-in-Chief, Mr. Roque also said, “the least intrusive is a state of national emergency.”
On Sept. 4, 2016, lawless acts in Mindanao, including “abductions, hostage-takings and murder of innocent civilians, bombing of power transmission facilities, highway robberies and extortions, attacks on military outposts, and assassinations of media people and mass jailbreaks” prompted Mr. Duterte to sign Proclamation No. 55.
Two days before the proclamation was signed, at least 14 individuals were killed and 67 others were injured in a bombing incident in Davao City.