President Rodrigo Duterte stated on Monday that there is no reason for him to declare martial law in the entire country, since there is no rebellion happening nationwide.
“No nationwide martial law. Why? Because I will look stupid before the eyes of the public if I do that. And I don’t want to be called stupid,” Duterte said in a press conference after his State of the Nation Address.
Duterte made the statement after the Congress approved his recommendation to extend Martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2017.
He also lashed out at critics who have compared him to the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos who put the whole Philippines under martial rule from 1972 to 1981.
“Why do you have to compare me with Marcos? I am not Marcos. I may not be as brilliant as Marcos, but definitely I am more attuned to my values in life,” he said in a press briefing after his second State of the Nation Address (Sona) at the Batasang Pambansa.
Under the regime of Marcos, martial law had been tainted with human violations and extrajudicial killings.
“Ang values ni Marcos is not necessarily mine just because there is martial law” ( the values of Marcos, is not necessarily mine just because there is martial law”) Duterte said, known to be friends with the Marcos family since his father Vicente worked under the strongman’s cabinet.
On July 22, members of the Senate House of Representatives both agreed to extend martial law in Mindanao until the end of this year due to the existing rebellion in Marawi City.
Duterte was forced to place the Mindanao under martial law on May 23 after the Maute group laid siege to Marawi City. And now, the President sought the five-month extension after the government troops failed to completely and totally end insurgency perpetrated by the Maute rebels.
On the other hand, the chief executive said military rule was declared because there was trouble Mindanao. He also admitted that there was a failure of intelligence regarding the strength of terrorist enemies in Marawi City.
“So nagkamali kami doon, ang ibig sabihin (So we made an error there). If that is what you want there was a mistake in the evaluation or assessment.” He said.
Since the President recommended the five-month extension in Martial Law, he assured the public that the government troops in the south were not into abuses as they are there in good faith.
“On martial law, there will be no human rights abuses, except rape… There can never be a violation of the martial law because the killing itself is a violation of human rights,” Duterte said.
Over 500, mostly terrorists, have died since the clashes erupted in Marawi City.