(UPDATED) President Rodrigo Duterte would not be happy to declare martial law, but he'd be OK to do it if local officials do not help him keep the peace in southern Philippines.
"Either tulungan ninyo ako or I will declare martial law tomorrow for Mindanao," Duterte said during a meeting with Mindanao chief executives in Davao City.
(Either you help me or I will declare martial law tomorrow for Mindanao.)
He has said repeatedly that he does not want to declare martial law in the region, as it is "almost terrorism" and can cause the government to lose country in the end if it spins out of control. However, he would do so if "compelled by duty" to protect the Filipino people.
Duterte urged Mindanao officials to “use to the hilt” the police in their areas and stop protecting drug users. If police officers get into trouble because of their orders, Duterte added, he will support local officials as long as they are acting on the president’s orders.
“Kapag sinabi mo, mayor (Duterte), nangyari ito, that is pursuant to my order . . . then I will support you. Ako magsasabi sa Ombudsman, I specifically ordered governors and mayors to use necessary force and to kill if demanded under the circumstances,” Duterte said.
(If you tell me, mayor (Duterte), this happened, that is pursuant to my order . . . then I will support you. I will tell the Ombudsman, I specifically ordered governors and mayors to use necessary force, and to kill if demanded under the circumstances.)
He also said police officers should not be afraid to get into trouble: “Lahat tayo may kaso at this time sa Ombudsman.”
(All of us have cases at the Ombudsman at this time.)
Duterte also warned local officials of the consequences of protecting drug users.
“Huwag niyo protektahan ang mga durugista. Mag-away lang tayo. I will deprive you of the police,” he said.
“Kukunin ko ang supervision and authority ninyo over the police, and I will ask the military to go in and impose order, to shoot anyone who defies with violence.”
(Do not protect drug users. If you do, you and I are going to have a problem. I will deprive you of the police. I will take from you your supervision and authority over the police.)