Palace: No imminent declaration of martial law

MALACAÑANG assured Wednesday the public that there is no impending declaration of martial law, even after President Rodrigo Duterte said it is a “contingency to meet widespread violence.”

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella, in a press conference, said that the President is merely warning that martial law may materialize, should lawless violence escalates in the country, especially in Mindanao.

“The statement that he (Duterte) made really comes from the fact that he’s underlining our awareness and necessary consciousness of the growing impunity, apparent impunities especially in certain areas of Mindanao where certain groups actually are traveling already into other areas, threatening to enter Cebu, the Visayas,” Abella said.

“So basically, what he was doing is that should this escalate and the conditions are set, then he could [declare martial law]. But this is simply a warning and that it is just a possibility, this is not actual statement that says it will happen,” he added.

Duterte has announced that he may suspend the writ of habeas corpus but clarified that he would not declare a martial law.

Duterte, however, seemed to have changed his earlier pronouncement when he said Tuesday that he may still declare martial law, in order to suppress lawlessness.

"I am not fan of martial law... But if ever, martial law is a contingency to meet widespread violence," the President said.

The presidential spokesperson said the President has no intent to declare Martial law unless "necessary conditions" would prompt him to do so.

For now, Abella said Duterte is only elevating public awareness about the violence in the country.

“No imminent declaration, unless of course he says he will declare [martial law]. I mean, [he will] if the necessary conditions are there. But if and when, that [is] really a process that demands a process," Abella said.

“We need to understand the leadership style of the President. He creates awareness – that is his manner of leadership. So I think, we should need to be able to take that in stride," he added. (Sunnex)
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