Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said that “bad people” should beware of the declaration of martial law while peace-loving people need not fear it.
Dela Rosa said in an ambush interview in Camp Crame on December 18 that it is up to President Duterte to declare a nationwide martial law and asked the public whether they feared the declaration.
“Hindi ko sya papangunahan. Anyway, takot na takot ba kayo sa martial law? Punta kayo sa Mindanao tanong kayo sa mga tao run kung sila natatakot sa martial law. Wala man,” the PNP chief said.
“My neighbors, friends, relatives will say wala namang pagbabago. Sa mga peace-loving people walang pagbabago kung may martial law o wala sa Mindanao. The same. Pero sa mga masasamang tao malaki ang epekto sa kanila,” he added.
He said that martial law put a lot of restrictions on the activities of the bad elements.
“Their movements are restricted. Their diskarte is limited at karamihan sa kanila nagtatago. ‘Yun ang epekto ng martial law sa Mindanao,” dela Rosa said.
Asked whether he would recommend the expansion of martial law to include the rest of the country, he said that he still has to assess the situation and consider the recommendation of his subordinates.
“When my subordinates, my regional directors, ay mag-recommend sa akin na sir, mas maganda siguro i-martial law na natin. It is my obligation to recommend it to the President,” dela Rosa added.
While he believed that there is no reason yet to declare a nationwide martial law, the PNP chief said that putting the country under martial rule would make it easier for the police to do their job under “favorable working condition.”
“Mas kayang sugpuin kung may martial law. Kaya naming sugpuin kung walang martial law, pero it will give us a favorable working condition, a favorable operational environment kung may martial law. That would make our job a lot more easier,” he said.
He also assured the rest of the Filipinos not to fear Duterte’s martial law.
“My assurance to the people of the Visayas and Luzon is that look at martial law in Mindanao. It will satisfy everything,” dela Rosa said.
“O kaya you ask the Mindanaoans, how do you feel about martial law, bago kayo mag-oppose o matakot,” he added.
But the netizens disagreed with dela Rosa’s remarks, with some pointing out how some members of the PNP are still corrupt and abusive.
“So it is coming? I am afraid for those whose doors would be kicked in. For those who will be arrested without warrants. The reputation of the PNP is still sullied with corruption so, good people fear martial law,” a Facebook user commented.
Others want to fight martial law to keep their civil liberties.
Some brought up the innocent victims of the war against drugs as their reason for fearing martial law.
“Yan din sinabi niyo tungkol sa tokhang — ang dapat lang matakot yung mga drug pusher. O, ano? Ilang inosenteng tao na napatay niyo dahil diyan? Ihirit mo yang kasinungalingan na yan sa mga magulang ng mga batang pinatay ng PNP mo kung talagang naniniwala ka diyan at matapang ka. Berdugo!” said one Facebook user.
There were those who wondered about what dela Rosa’s definition of ‘bad people’ is or who would set the definition, considering how ‘good people’ were still victimized during Marcos’ martial rule.
“We fear martial law because we learn from the atrocities of yesterday. We actually pay attention to our history classes, Mr. Dela Rosa,” said a Twitter user.
Congress approved the request of President Rodrigo Duterte to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2018 on December 13.