Duterte on declaring martial law: 'If public asks for it, I'll do it'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 30 2017 01:44 AM

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said he has no reason yet to declare martial law in some parts of Mindanao that is under the threat of terrorism.

According to Duterte, he will wait for the people to ask for martial law as a solution to the problems they are facing.

"When the time comes that they will be asking for it, I'll give it to them. Remember this Filipinos, kung kayo na ang manghingi (if you ask for it). Magsabi kayo, Mr. President, declare tayo ng martial law. Sabihin ko mag-isip muna ako (if you want it, I'll think about it," he said during a press conference at Malacañang that started late Sunday night and finished about 1 a.m. Monday.

Duterte said he is not keen on declaring martial law as long as other methods of law enforcement are still effective.

"Kung kayo na mismo ang maghingi at baka dadating 'yang mga scenario na 'yan, sabihin ko lang huwag muna, OK pa naman, nadala pa naman sa presinto-presinto. Pero when the time comes na ang tao na ang maghingi, ibibigay ko. But ako, satisfied na ako," he said.

Duterte earlier said declaring martial law is "useless," adding that a state of lawlessness is enough.

He also previously said he wants the declaration of martial law to be the sole prerogative of the president. 

Duterte has been talking about declaring martial law as an option. In August, he asked Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno if the chief magistrate would rather have the president declare martial law after the chief justice opposed Duterte's publicly naming of judges allegedly involved in drugs.  

In October, Duterte once again floated the idea of declaring martial law because of the illegal drug trade in the country, during a meeting with the Jewish community at the Beit Yaacov Synagogue in Makati City.