By Francis Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat of declaring martial law in the country could only become a reality only if there is massive disruption in government function.
Lorenzana made the remark following an interview at Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Lorenzana said during an earlier press briefing in Malacañang, he was explaining to them that the president is threatening to, from the words of the president himself during their conversation, of declaring martial law next week if the situation calls for.
“Sa pag-uusap namin na kung magkagulo na (During our talk that if there is anarchy) it there becomes massive disruption of civilian lives and function of government that he might, he might (do it). That’s what he said. So I did not say from my own,” Lorenzana said.
“Caution that he will declare. I was just repeating what the president said,” he added.
With regard to the claim of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) that the impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and the implementation of the National ID system among others, are a prelude to the declaration of martial law is not true.
“Wala namang connection doon eh kasi the ID system is matagal nang pinag-usapan yan e, noon pa (It doesn’t have any connection with that because the ID system has long been talked about). I think it had been the subject matter since many Congresses ago,” Lorenzana said.
He added: “Iyun namang impeachment ni (the impeachment of the) chief justice I think that is different. Ito namang pagdedeclare ng martial law, sabi nila kung magkakagulo, kung magkakagulo na mahirapan na ang security agencies to control under normal circumstances then he might. Although hindi naman connected iyun, why are they connecting?”
Lorenzana also said the claim made by the CPP-NPA that President Duterte is planning to take over the judiciary is farfetched.
“Medyo stretched na ang imagination nila dyan e, kasi tulad ng time ni President Aquino, natanggal naman iyung chief justice (Renato Corona) hindi naman nag take over. Hindi naman nag trick over yung justice system eh (Their imagination is somewhat stretched. During the time of President Aquino the chief justice was also removed but they did not take over),” he said.
Lorenzana however said that based on his assessment, anti-Duterte rallyists or critics of the government don’t have the capability to conduct nationwide rallies.
“Like I said it’s very remote that there will be chaos or anarchy in the streets because I don’t think they can get that much people to stage massive rallies day in day out like during the time of President Marcos,” Lorenzana said.
“Look at the environment, do you see any massive disgruntlement of the people? Wala naman tayong nakikita e (we doesn’t see anything). In fact the approval rating of the president is above 90 percent so I dont think they will suceed,” he said.
In a statement posted by the Information Bureau of the Communist Party of the Philippines on Thursday, it said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s plot to declare nationwide martial law is underway.
“He is increasingly desperate amid broad rising calls for his ouster. He seeks to prop himself up as a fascist dictator in his despair to cling to power,” the CPP said.
“Duterte deserves the strongest condemnation for threatening to make full use of the military and police to carry out armed repression against mass demonstrations by conjuring a scenario of “rebels taking to the streets” and “fighting on the street,” it added.
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