Categorized | Philippine

Philippines’ Duterte Hints He May Impose Martial Law over Drugs

NOVANEWS
  • President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, Philippines, Dec. 22, 2016.
    President Rodrigo Duterte speaks at Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, Philippines, Dec. 22, 2016. | Photo: Reuters.
Last month, Duterte appeared to rule out any possibility he might declare martial law.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would impose martial law if the drug problem became “very virulent,” just a month after dismissing as “nonsense” any suggestion he might do so.

Duterte has made a brutal war on drugs a central pillar of his administration since he took office in the middle of last year.

Since July, more than 6,000 people have been killed in the anti-drug campaign, in both police operations and unexplained killings by suspected “vigilantes.” More than 1 million drug peddlers and users have been arrested or have surrendered to authorities.

Duterte, speaking in the southern city of Davao late Saturday, said he has sworn to protect the country against all threats, including drugs, which he said has affected about 4 million people.

“If I wanted to, and it will deteriorate into something really very virulent, I will declare martial law,” he said.

“No one can stop me,” he said, referring to the Supreme Court and Congress.

“My country transcends everything else, even the limitations.”

The Philippines endured a decade of martial law from the early 1970s under dictator Ferdinand Marcos — who Duterte offered a hero’s burial — and memories of campaigns to restore democracy and protect human rights are fresh in the minds of many people.

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