Duterte eyes martial law as ‘contingency’


While he is no fan of martial law, President Rodrigo Duterte has said military rule could be used as a “contingency” against widespread violence, especially in Mindanao.

“I am not a fan of martial law. Abogado ako e. Natakot `yung mga tao sa martial law [I’m a lawyer. People were afraid of martial law],” Duterte told reporters in Malacañang Tuesday night.

“But if ever, martial law is a contingency to meet widespread violence,” he added.

Duterte’s statement follows his pronouncement last Friday that he might suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus “if lawlessness becomes widespread,” particularly the Muslim rebellion in Mindanao and the supposedly worsening drug problem in the country.”If lawlessness becomes widespread, I might be forced to— I don’t want to do it, I don’t want to. It’s just my warning to them. I don’t want it because it’s not good,” Duterte said in his speech in Davao City on Friday. “But if you force my hand into it, I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, not martial law.”

A number of lawmakers have reacted with alarm to Duterte’s statements, saying there was no basis for authorities to upend legal processes.

Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution allows the President to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for not more than 60 days “in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it.”

The writ requires the state to produce the body of a person in custody. Suspending it would essentially allow warrantless arrests.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus since the country is still under the “state of national emergency on account of lawless violence.”

“As we are under a state of emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao, and should conditions in place demand it, the President may have this option [to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus],” Abella said.

“This serves as a stern warning to lawless elements that he would use his executive powers in accordance with what the Constitution allows,” he added.

Duterte declared a state of emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao in September following a deadly night market explosion in his hometown of Davao City.

On Wednesday, militant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chided Duterte for raising the possibility of declaring martial law.

“Stop acclimatizing the public on the possibilities of Martial Law, suspension of writ of habeas corpus and other Marcosian policies,” said the group, referring to the actions of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

“Whether they are just passing thoughts or calculated declarations, the Filipino people will never allow a repeat of open fascist rule. We will relentlessly defend and assert the people’s democratic rights at all cost,” it said in a statement.


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  1. Muslims in the Philippines need to be recruited to identify and fight against the extremist terrorist in Mindanao. It is easy to tag all Muslims as the problem but that is unfair. Most find genuine solace in their faith. But others use it as a weapon to kill indiscriminately in the name of Allah. There is no compromise with these fanatics. Duterte is right, they have to be killed. The Philippinos and their Muslim allies should do the killing. Involving the Americans would be a mistake as every attempt they have made to calm the situation in Muslim countries have only made matters worse.

    • You are right. I know most muslims are good and trustworthy people. Why do I know it? I was born in Cotabato, and I grew up among a muslim community. I even learned to speak their Maguindanao dialect. In fact our land (24 has.) was donated by a Datu (Akhmad). I learned from some people in northern Philippines say maliciously and unfairly “A good muslim is a dead muslim”.

  2. Honestly, I don’ t see anything wrong in my Manila Area| perhaps, I am viewing my safety as God’ s Blessing: but still all I can see are people indulging in common sins sans Killings.

    The only worries that I have in my mind is Digong as President| he really is messing a lot of things.

    1. Tolerating the sins of Macoy, as he bury him at the Hero Cemetry.
    2. Appointing Celeberities at the Government Posts even though they are not qualified, but since they make him Bola: he puts them in office.
    3. His Kampihan Method of Governance: all his kakampi are safe, and his critics are in danger.
    4. Months in Office and I still haven’ t heard of Projects that is being directed to the Poor| Education/ Medical/ Housing.
    5. Social Climbing| just because Trump is popular now: he undo the words that he has given to the USA: Erase his Head :P
    6. Twisted Mind :P He makes all things twisted for his benefits.
    7. All talk and no work :P Blabber Mouth should be his nick name. Pare 8 Hours ang work sa government: hindi 4 hours :P

    • Invoking god in your opinion doesnt make it any more valid than someone who did not, but just because you live in a safe place doesnt mean the issues that do not reach you does not exist;

      just because you do not hear the government setting up some new-sounding program all the time doesnt mean they do not exist or function; and

      just because you dont appear to pay attention to anything but propaganda available in social media doesnt make the changes he has made in the past few months in office any less tangible than your daily dose of social media is leading you to believe.

    • Atay na lang – ang dami mong reklamo – nilista mo pa. Bakit hindi ka nag run as president – let us see if you will be ELECTED. You seem to know better – palitan mo siya as presidente – puro ngalngal. You have a more twisted mind than you realize by enumerating what you wanted done if you were the president of the country. SUMO! sa tagalog nakakaumay – na din yong mga nagrereklamo na wala rin namang ginawa. You are just prime observer and online opinionated – wannabe – educated – pretentious troll.

  3. We know that there have been violence in the country, especially in Mindanao areas, but there much have been more violence from within the government side, for those killing of drug suspects are coming from either the government police authorities or from the mysterious killers, whose names are unknown and remains a mystery.

  4. Whatever necessary action is necessary, it should be done right away.

    The people has seen and compared the real merits of a disciplined, paternal way of governance, in contrast with the culture of unbridled greed, irresponsible sell out of government assets and interests for personal gain and commissions, down to outright enslaving and prostituting of the lowly suffering pilipinos as ofws and japayukis.

    Let the evil elites of this country worry and tremble as their deeds are exposed, their days are numbered, the time to pay is near.

    • Armando Lacaba on

      Is authoritarianism or “paternal way of governance” the only and effective way to impose discipline to the public?