Philippine President Duterte rules out martial law, calls it a ‘stupid’ policy

President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech during the 80th anniversary of the National Bureau of Investigation in Manila, Philippines on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. AP Photo/Aaron Favila
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MANILA, Philippines — Despite the threat posed by Moro extremists, President Rodrigo Duterte ruled out Thursday the declaration of martial law, calling it a “stupid” policy that did not improve the lives of Filipinos.
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Duterte said he sees no need to place the country under martial law and would rather empower local executives to allow them to solve their security issues.
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“Martial law? Kalokohan yan. Nung nag-marital law tayo ano nangyari? Gumaling ba ang buhay natin? Hanggang ngayon, wala (That’s stupid. We were under martial law but what happened? Did our lives improve? Until now, it has not),” the president said during the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Local Government Summit in Davao City.
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“Martial law for what? Killing people? I would rather empower every mayor. Just don’t use it for other things. Soldiers would never accede to any illegal order. Ask them to escort the delivery of drugs and I will ask them to shoot you. You shoot your master yourself,” he added.
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The Philippines was placed under martial law by then President Ferdinand Marcos citing the need to curb the communist rebellion. While Marcos loyalists believe that martial law helped contain unrest, activists and historians claim that it paved the way to human rights abuses and the suppression of freedoms.
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Duterte said people from Manila thought he would declare martial law because of the recent activities of the Maute militants, who occupied parts of Butig, Lanao del Sur last weekend. Duterte said last Monday that the Maute group has links to international terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS). He believes though that killing more people would not solve the problems confronting the country.
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“Those from Manila were waiting for me to get angry…You build a nation over dead bones of Moros and Christians,” Duterte said.
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“Martial law for what? To kill all Maute (rebels) and religious extremists. Then? Can he (rebel) pass to his child the things inside his brain? That’s his. What this guy will remember is his father was killed,” he added.
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“I don’t allow oppression in this country. I’ll never do it.”
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Fears about the possible declaration of martial law mounted after Duterte floated the possibility of suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus if lawlessness spread in Mindanao.
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A writ of habeas corpus, which literally means “produce the body,” is an order to present the body of an imprisoned person. It permits a person to question an unlawful detention before a court.
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Duterte clarified though that he would not declare martial law and would only suspend the writ if criminals “force” his hand into it.
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But despite the assurance, some lawmakers are worried about the president’s pronouncement, noting that Marcos suspended the writ before declaring martial law.
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There were also speculations that the threats posed by the ISIS-linked Maute group and the discovery of an improvised explosive device near the US embassy last Tuesday would impel Duterte to suspend the writ.
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Last month, Duterte said he is no fan of martial law but noted that the declaration can be a “contingency” to address violence.
“I am not a fan of Martial Law. I am a lawyer. People are afraid of martial law but if ever, martial law is a contingency to meet widespread violence,” the president told reporters last November 15.
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Last September, Duterte placed the entire country under a “state of emergency” following a blast in Davao City that left 14 persons dead and about 60 others injured.
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The declaration, which was contained in Proclamation No. 55, also directed the Armed Forces and the police to suppress “any and all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao” and to prevent lawless violence from spreading in other parts of the country.
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One Response to “Philippine President Duterte rules out martial law, calls it a ‘stupid’ policy”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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