NUEVA ECIJA – "If I will declare martial law, I won't make noise."
This was President Rodrigo Duterte's message at the 20th anniversary of the Premiere Medical Center in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija.
Duterte made the statement in reaction to media reports that he could declare Martial if the looming crisis on illegal drugs becomes "virulent."
The President took a swipe at media for allegedly "not listening" to his statements about martial law.
He maintained that being the country's highest elected official was a "God-given task," which he would not abuse for "flimsy reason [to] perpetuate in power."
"The newspaper said, 'Duterte [to declare] martial law.' I will not declare Martial. And if will declare Martial law, I won’t make noise. And if you ask for my basis, son of a b****, you don't have to interfere. Shut up all," said Duterte.
"The media is not listening. All they hear is about martial law. I'm not stupid; I'm brighter than them. And frankly, if they [journalists] are brighter than me, they should have been here [in my place as the country's leader]," he added.
Duterte, however, was quick to clarify that there was "no compelling reason" for him to declare martial law.
"I feel, as the president, that [if] I have to preserve my country, I will declare Martial law. But if you say [it's because of] peace and order, the military is right that there is no compelling reason [for me to do so]," the President said.
Last Saturday, Duterte hinted that he would declare martial law, if the drug situation in the country continues to deteriorate.
The President also said that no one could stop him, should he decide to announce a one-man rule.
"You know, I have to protect the Filipino people It's my duty. I tell you now, if I have to declare Martial law, I will declare it. Not about invasion, insurrection, not about danger. I will declare Martial law to preserve my nation. Period," Duterte said in Davao City. "I will declare Martial law if I wanted to. No one can stop me."
Following his latest pronouncements, Palace officials stressed that the President has no intentions of declaring Martial law.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Duterte has no "fascist tendency" and would never declare martial law.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo assured the Filipino people that the President would not abuse his executive powers.
While Duterte said he was not eyeing an authoritative government, he cautioned that the country would feel the presence of the terrorist group Islamic State on Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the coming days.
"I will just fill you in of the days to come, it's ISIS coming in very fast, and Mindanao is a pure case of rising nationalism," he said. "The ISIS in the Syria is very cruel. I don't know what drives them crazy but they burned children, but they're making women as the thousands of slaves. That’s dangerous but that won't happen [in the Philippines]." (SunStar Philippines)