Palace: Cotabato, Leyte blasts not a prelude to martial law

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 29 2016 03:24 PM

Police line surrounds the site where two bombs exploded, injuring 34 fiesta revelers in Hilongos, Leyte. Ranulfo Docdocan, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday denied that the stage is being set for President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law following separate blasts in North Cotabato and Leyte.

"At this stage, there are no indications regarding that matter. These are all being considered. For example, the situation in Hilongos, Leyte… these are not areas that are really subject to threats like bombings. That's exactly why it's all under investigation right now. But these are not indicators that the context is being set up for let's say declaration of martial law, for example. No,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said.

In Aleosan, North Cotabato, at least 7 people were injured after two improvised explosive devices (IEDs) went off along a national highway in Sitio, Bliss, Barangay Pagangan Dos on Wednesday evening.

At least 34 people were wounded when two homemade bombs ripped through the packed plaza of Hilongos, Leyte during the celebration of the town fiesta Wednesday evening.

The police have yet to determine whether the two bombings are connected.

Duterte has rattled his critics amid his string of pronouncements regarding martial law.

While saying that the declaration of Martial Law during the dictatorship of the late Ferdinand Marcos did not improve the lives of Filipinos, Duterte has also said that he wants the Philippine president to have the sole power to impose military rule.