MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday confirmed that the President Rodrigo Duterte met with top intelligence officials on Wednesday, ahead of the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law in the Philippines.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque refused to reveal what was discussed between Duterte and the intelligence officials during the meeting, but he described it as a “regular briefing.”
The President earlier accused the left, Liberal Party, and other critics of joining forces to destabilize his government. The opposition party and communist leader Jose Maria Sison have denied the President’s allegation.
Protests are expected to be mounted on Friday, September 21, which marks the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Roque said the government will exercise maximum tolerance on the protesters, even as he maintained that the protest actions are something that the state can easily deal with.
“Dream on to those who want to remove the President,” Roque said.
Left-leaning groups said they hope to mobilize thousands in a rally on Friday to stand against what they call "a looming dictatorship."
The protesters will gather in different parts of Metro Manila before marching to Luneta at 4 p.m., according to a statement of groups Bayan and Bayan Muna.
The Philippines was placed under martial law by late strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr. on Sept. 21, 1972.
The Marcos regime was a period that saw human rights violations such as extra-judicial killings, illegal detentions, enforced disappearances, and other forms of abuse on those opposed to the late dictator's leadership.
Over 4 decades later, his heirs are on the verge of a comeback on the national political scene.