The size of the firearms in the hands of the civilians is much more than the capacity of the armed forces.
Saying President Rodrigo Duterte is a product of the democratic process and was bestowed an overwhelming mandate through his convincing victory in the 2016 elections, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said yesterday protests against the administration in commemoration of the imposition of martial law in 1972 have no relevance.
“To those hungry with power, dream on. The President has been elected and supported by the people. He has a clear mandate,” Roque said in a radio interview.
Roque compared the situation when President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law 46 years ago at a time when “the President lost his mandate.”
“So that’s the difference. Filipinos revolt if democracy is threatened, President Duterte is a product of democracy,” Roque added.
Roque said the type of martial law declared by Marcos 46 years ago will not happen under the administration of Mr. Duterte.
“Martial law of Marcos will not really happen because the 1987 Constitution provides that, first, you cannot close Congress and courts even under martial law,” Roque said.
“Let us remember that if a leader has no mandate and wanted to stay in power, democracy will be violated,” he said.
No extended declaration
Roque said Congress and the courts have also the power to invalidate the declaration of martial law if it has no actual basis.
Though Mindanao has been placed martial law, Roque said there is no reason to declare it in Luzon and the Visayas.
Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law in May last year after Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute terrorist group seized Marawi City.
Despite the liberation of the city five months later, Duterte has extended martial law up to December this year, citing the danger of extremist attacks spreading to other areas of Mindanao.
Roque assured the public martial law in Mindanao is not like the military rule used by the Marcos regime.
People Power legacy lives
He said Duterte will continue to respect democracy which the Filipino nation started to enjoy after the bloodless 1986 People Power revolt that toppled Marcos.
Roque also refuted opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros’ “destabilizer-in-chief” remark against Mr. Duterte, saying the Chief Executive continues to gain high public acceptance.
“It is ironic that Senator Risa Hontiveros, who spends so much of her time undermining the efforts of this administration, would refer to the President as ‘destabilizer-in-chief’,”’ Roque said.
Roque defended Duterte, saying the President has made “significant strides” in his election promises to fight illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.
“There is high public appreciation and acceptance of his actions,” Roque said.
“Many Filipinos agree that when there is peace and order, the economy thrives. Adult joblessness as well as crimes are decreasing,” he added.
Roque emphasized the need for all government officials to focus on helping the Filipino people, particularly those affected by landslides in Itogon, Benguet and Naga in Cebu.
“During this challenging time when the nation must stand as one because of the tragedies that befell our farmers from Northern Luzon, the miners of Itogon, Benguet to the residents of Naga, Cebu, what our people expect is a moratorium on excessive politicking from our elected leaders,” Roque said.