Lorenzana: Nationwide martial law ‘very remote’

PHILIPPiNE Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday, September 15 said that President Rodrigo Duterte is unlikely to declare a nationwide martial law in response to possible violent demonstrations by leftists across the country.

Last week, Duterte threatened that he may place the entire country under martial law  if communist rebels “commit the mistake of staging a rebellion.”

“Do not commit the mistake of staging a rebellion. ‘Yung sabihin mo na there’s a fighting on the streets. I will not hesitate to impose martial law all throughout the country and order the arrest of everybody,” the president said in a media conference over the weekend.

Leftists demonstrations are expected on Thursday, September 21—the 45th anniversary of the martial law declaration of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

But Lorenzana described the possibility of a nationwide martial law next week as “very remote,” saying that the communist forces in the country have significantly weakened.

“Sa aking pananaw naman, estimate ko, very remote naman mangyari (In my view, by my estimate, chances are remote)” Lorenzana said in a press briefing at Malacañang.

He noted that the president was only “concerned that it (rebellion) might get out of hand.”

“I don’t think the possibility that the Left will be able to conduct a massive demonstration across the country, disrupting the civil government or the lives of the people. Hindi naman siguro mangyari ‘yun (It’s not likely to happen),” Lorenzana added.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also downplayed the possibility of a nationwide martial law, saying no discussions about the matter have been made.

“Wala, wala. Nabanggit lang siguro ni Presidente ‘yon. Alam niyo naman si Presidente madaming sinasabi. Wala naman dinidiscuss na ganoon (Nothing. The president might have just simply mentioned it. You know him, he talks a lit. We haven’t discussed anything),”  Alvarez said.

In a statement, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said that Duterte was becoming “increasingly desperate amid broad rising calls for his ouster” and “seeks to prop himself up as a fascist dictator in his despair to cling to power.”

The CPP further added that the president “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 streets.’”

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