LIVING up to his tough image, former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte admitted on Thursday that he will not hesitate to declare martial law if he wins this year’s presidential race.
He, however, clarified that imposing military rule will be an “extreme option” and it will have to meet some conditions.
One situation that would compel him to resort to martial law is a constitutional crisis brought by conflicts between the executive and legislative branches regarding allocation and release of budget.
“If you threaten me with impeachment and create a constitutional crisis, I will be forced to declare a revolutionary government,” Duterte said at the special joint meeting of the Rotary Club of Makati and Manila.
He added that he will appoint former military officials to his Cabinet because they can help him address corruption in government and maintain the integrity of his administration.
The former mayor also vowed to restore law and order and to intensify the campaign against illegal drugs.
“Almost all crimes are drug-related nowadays. I will restore order. Crime has to be stopped. Illegal drugs have to be stopped,” he said.
His next move will be to ask Congress to pass a measure restoring the death penalty.
Capital punishment will be imposed for all heinous crimes caused by illegal drugs, he said.
Duterte also admitted that solving Metro Manila’s traffic problem will be difficult but he will not back down from the challenge.
“There is no silver bullet to all our problems, even those in Metro Manila. But I will look for solutions,” he said.
The mayor told his audience that losing the presidential race will not be devastating for him.
“I never tasted defeat in my life. I would be very happy if I experience one before I die,” he said.
Also on Thursday, Duterte again called on Commissioner Rowena Guanzon of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to recuse herself from disqualification cases filed against him.
Vitaliano Aguirre, Duterte’s lawyer, reiterated the call a day before the deadline for submission of memoranda.
Once all parties have submitted their comments on Friday, the disqualification cases will be deemed submitted for resolution.
Aguirre said it would be for the best interest of everybody if Guanzon will no longer take part in the deliberations of the case before the First Division.
In a 17-page motion for disqualification and/or inhibition, he claimed that Guanzon is closely associated with Maria Sheila Bazar, counsel of John Paulo delas Nieves, one of those seeking the disqualification of Duterte.
Guanzon and Bazar, according to Aguirre, are members of the Justice Gender Network, a women’s right group.
Aguirre noted that only Guanzon voted to throw out Duterte’s certificate of candidacy.
The Manila Times tried to get the side of Guanzon but she did not respond.