MANILA, Philippines — Almost two weeks after President Rodrigo Duterte warned that he would declare martial law nationwide if communist rebels stage rebellion on the streets, Malacañang on Thursday, during the anniversary of the Marcos dictatorship, said the chief executive wasn’t planning anything similar to what the late strongman did 45 years ago.
Again and again, inulit niya hindi iyan ang patutunguhan natin [he repeated that it’s not where we are going],” said presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella during an interview with GMA-7.
Abella clarified that what Duterte said earlier was just a warning and not a plan.
“(A)ng sinabi lang…huwag lang malaglag…sa violence and the destruction of property. Pero kung sinasasabi pinaplano iyong martial law, hindi po.”
[What he was saying was that it should not lead to violence and the destruction of property. But if we say that martial law is being planned, that’s not the case.]
Last September 9, Duterte warned communists that he would impose martial law throughout the country and have them arrested if they would wage rebellion and the uprising would reach the streets.
“I just let them do what they want to do but do not commit the mistake. I am not trying to scare you. Do not commit a mistake of staging a rebellion, where there’s a fighting on the streets,” the President said.
“I will not hesitate to impose martial law all throughout the country and order the arrest of everybody,” he added.
On Thursday, Abella said Duterte is in fact a unifying and not a divisive leader as he has been trying to “to reach out to just about everybody, left to right” of the politiucal spectrum.
“And again he started out with having a rainbow Cabinet…including left, including right, top, bottom,” he said.
“So, sa simula’t sapul po ang [From the very beginning, the] President had been very very inclusive…damang dama po ng Presidente ang hinaing ng tao [He really feels the people’s sufferings]. And again…especially he is against…corruption crime and iyong pag-aabuso [and abuse],” added Abella.