Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar clarifies on Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement about martial law being a “contingency to meet widespread violence” merely serves as warning to the terrorist groups who seem to be the root of the lawlessness in certain areas.
“It is his way of merely telling those guys or even the terrorists or even those who plan to terrorize our people and the drug lords na we can do this para mahuli kayo. It’s a warning,” Andanar said.
Andanar clarified that the possibility of a martial law declaration was “far from reality.”
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella also clarified the issue in a press briefing in the Palace that there is “no imminent declaration, unless of course sabi ide-declare, this area. I mean, if conditions, if the necessary conditions are there, but if and when that really demands a process,” he said.
Abella also said that this was just President Duterte’s way of warning the public, especially the lawless elements, of what he can do should any of these activities continue.
“The statement that he made, really comes from the fact that he’s underlining the—he’s underlining our awareness and necessary consciousness of the—of the growing impunity, apparent impunities especially in certain areas of Mindanao where certain groups, actually are travelling already into other areas of example, threatening to enter Cebu, the Visayas. When, so basically what he was doing is that should this escalate and the conditions are set, then he could. But this is simply a warning and that is just a possibility, this is not actual statement that says it will happen,” Abella clarified.
It was on Tuesday night when Duterte made the remark that he believes martial law is a “contingency to meet widespread violence.” This was followed by a clarification that the President himself was never a fan of martial law.
“I am not a fan of martial law. Abugado ako e. Natakot ‘yung mga tao sa martial law. But if ever, martial law is a contingency to meet widespread violence,” Duterte said during a dinner with reporters in Malacañang.
“Mindanao is in a state of rebellion. If you go south, there is no guarantee that you can go there to Tawi-Tawi,” he added.
President Duterte had already warned that there is a possibility of suspending the writ of habeas corpus if this lawlessness in the country would persist.