President Duterte: “I don’t want to declare martial law”

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday he does not want to declare martial law, despite his gargantuan task to break down illegal drug apparatuses in the country.

President Duterte made the statement while showing the long list of individuals allegedly involved in illegal drugs, to troops of the 9th Infantry Division at Camp Elias Angeles San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur.

”What will I do to this? I cannot arrest neither kill them all. That cannot happen. I do not want to declare martial law,” the Commander-in-Chief told his soldiers on the day the country remembered the 44th year of the declaration of martial law by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos on September 21, 1971.

The President said he will provide the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police copies of the same list of 1,000 individuals linked to illegal drugs that he showed to members of the First Scout Ranger Regiment at Camp Teczon in Bulacan last week.

”I will give you copy, the AFP and the PNP. It’s up to you. I don’t know how. I can solve it if I would still be here. It’s up to you. If you don’t want to make any move, fine. It’s your country, my country but we have a problem,” he said.

President Duterte, a former fiscal before he became mayor of Davao City for more than two decades, said he is still making a final assessment of the individuals in the list.

”I’m assessing it as former fiscal. If I will bring it to the court, will I win? So I have to assess it first,” he said.

The President said the list includes Chinese nationals, judges, public officials and personnel of the National Bureau of Investigation and police.

He mentioned some listed names, among them former Pangasinan governor and incumbent Rep. Amado Espino Jr. and provincial administrator Raffy Baraan, Herbert Colangco, and a certain Diana Lagman of Pampanga.

President Duterte appealed to the government troops “not to abandon your duty” if the drug problem outlasts him for whatever reason.

”This will destroy your children, your grandchildren and the next generation and that’s why I’m ready to die for this (campaign),” he said. Jelly Musico/PNA/