By Hader Glang
ZAMBOANGA CITY, the Philippines
President Rodrigo Duterte has insisted that no one could stop him from declaring martial law to preserve the nation if the situation in the Philippines becomes “virulent”.
SunStar Philippines reported Sunday that Duterte said he was not eager about such a measure but was obligated to protect the Filipino people.
“It’s my duty and I tell you now, if I have to declare Martial law, I will declare it, not about invasion, insurrection, not about danger. I will declare Martial law to preserve my nation,” he was quoted as saying late Saturday.
The president, who has launched a bloody campaign against illegal drugs under which thousands of suspects have been killed, brought up the matter of martial law while speaking about the narcotics problem in the country.
“I don’t care about the Supreme Court because [I have] the right to preserve ones’ life and my nation,” Duterte underlined. “If I want it and it will deteriorate into something really virulent, I will declare martial law if I want it to. No one can stop me.”
The Philippine Inquirer reported that during his speech, Duterte held a thick pile of papers which he called his “narcolist” and described as containing the names of politicians, judges and policemen.
He said that currently four million Filipinos are “slaves” of drug addiction.
Under the country’s 1987 constitution, a president has the authority to take such a move upon the approval of the Congress and Supreme Court.
The Philippines had been placed under martial law from 1972–1981 by late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled with an iron fist for 20 years.
Since Duterte’s inauguration June 30, the anti-drug drive has seen more than 6,000 people killed over suspected drug links — with around two-thirds of the deaths attributed to “vigilante-style killings” and the remainder to police operations, according to national police data cited by Rappler.