RESISTANCE HIGHEST IN CAPITAL AT 81%
By Ted Tuvera,
Angie M. Rosales
and Charlie V. Manalo
President Duterte’s frequent overtures on martial law does not sit well with many Filipinos based on the results of a Pulse Asia survey which showed seven out of 10 respondents do not see military rule as a necessity to solve the country’s problems.
The polls conducted from December 6 to 11 showed 74 percent of 1,200 respondents said they “disagree” to the pollster’s query: “Candidly speaking, it may be necessary now to have martial law to solve the many crises of the nation.”
Only 12 percent agreed with the suggestion of martial law being imposed while 14 percent said they are “undecided.”
Mr. Duterte in a recent speech broached the possibility of seeking a revision of the conditions on the imposition of martial rule under the Constitution primarily on the requirement for the President to submit a report to Congress within 48 hours of its declaration and that the imposition can last only 60 days, unless Congress extends this.
The opposition to the need for martial rule was highest in Metro Manila at 81 percent, followed by Mindanao at 75 percent, Luzon at 74 percent and Visayas at 65 percent.
Visayas respondents were most receptive to martial law but at only 15 percent, followed by Luzon at 13 percent, Mindanao at 11 percent and Metro Manila at seven percent.
Across economic classes, disagreement was highest among class D at 76 percent and ABC at 75 percent.Agreement was highest among class E at 14 percent.
Mr. Duterte also repeatedly floated suggestions of declaring martial law in some of his speeches over the past six months, saying he is “tempted” to do so but noted that it will be likely opposed by the public.
In a speech last December, the President said that he wants Congress to ease the constitutional requirements for a Commander in Chief to implement martial law.
His suggestions on the imposition martial law were all related to putting more teeth to his campaign against the narcotics trade.
As a response to the Pulse Asia report, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella reiterated Mr. Duterte’s stance that declaring martial law is unnecessary.
“The President earlier said that the imposition of martial law does not seem to improve significantly the lives of the Filipinos,” Abella said in a text message to journalists.
Abella added even if Mr. Duterte is a fan of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., he recognizes that the late strongman’s martial law from 1972 to 1981 was heavily tainted with violation of rights.
“The experience during the administration of former President Marcos as the best argument for President Duterte not to declare martial law,” he added.
‘Rody should heed poll results’
Duterte critic Sen. Risa Hontiveros, chairman of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, said the survey results “should serve as a stern warning to all those who are planning to subject the country to a new form of authoritarian rule.”
“The government should be guided by this latest survey to uphold the rule of law and safeguard democracy. Filipinos do not want a dictator so any leader of the government should not act like one,” she added.
“Lastly, the Marcoses must see this as a clear message to stop their mad attempt to paint a rosy picture of martial law,” Hontiveros added.
Sen. Bam Aquino shared the same observation in interpreting the results of the survey.
“It’ a complete rejection of this type of leadership, that type of governance that has leanings on violence or martial rule,” he said.
While the public is well aware of the problems on illegal drugs, terrorism and other issues, Aquino said that clearly, they stand against such kind of approach in dealing with the problems of the country.
It doesn’t help, Aquino said, that President Duterte has been giving flip-flopping statements on whether he will consider resorting to martial rule in addressing the concerns of the country.
A member of the House independent bloc also warned Mr. Duterte of entertaining any idea of resorting to military rule at any point under his administration barring any amendment to the 1987 Constitution.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said with the Pulse Asia survey results, Duterte is left with no recourse but to adhere to the people’s overwhelming sentiment.
“The 74 oercent of Filipinos who disagree with the implementation of martial law in solving pressing national problems is a categorical signal to the Duterte administration not to consider resort to a martial law regime,” said Lagman.
Lagman said the survey result was expected as there really was no basis for declaring Martial Law.
“In the first place, the bases for declaring martial law are absent. They are invasion and rebellion, and when public safety requires the imposition of martial law,” said Lagman.
“The adverse reaction of the people to authoritarian rule must compel the President to explain what he means by his enigmatic statement that ‘I am smarter than martial law,’ when asked whether he would declare martial law,” he added
“Does he mean to impress that without even declaring martial law he can impose and realize the effects of martial law like the unabated extrajudicial killings relative to his deadly campaign against the drug menace?” said the solon.
“The people have spoken. President Duterte and his men must stop talking about tinkering with the revival of martial law,” Lagman averred.
Pulse Asia said that among the hot topics when the survey was taken were the resignation of Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo on December 4 as head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) after being barred by Mr. Duterte from attending Cabinet meetings due to “irreconcilable differences” between them; the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) by a vote of 9-5 (with one abstention) to dismiss the consolidated petitions arguing against the burial of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB); the investigation by the Senate and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) into the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.; the recommendation made by the Senate Committee on Justice to file kidnapping, murder, and perjury charges against Mr. Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed member of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), who testified that President Duterte was directly involved in extrajudicial killings in Davao City while serving as its mayor; the decision of the SC to clear three judges included by Mr. Duterte in one of his drug lists; Mr. Duterte’s order to arrest gaming tycoon Jack Lam immediately on charges of bribery and economic sabotage; and the Sandiganbayan’s acquittal of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband as well as former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Benjamin Abalos, Sr. in connection with a second graft case filed against them stemming from the botched $329-million ZTE national broadband network (NBN) deal.
Fuming DU30 meets mayors
Municipal and city Mayors from all over the country also met yesterday with an obviously agitated President Duterte in Malacañang in relation to his thick file of local government officials involved in the drugs trade.
The highly secured close door meeting inside the Palace that lasted for about four hours happened days after the Chief Executive warned local heads that he will confront those involved in the illegal drugs trade.
“He was angry, there were a lot of profanities,” one of the local executives who attended the meeting told The Tribune.
A staff of a City Mayor from Luzon present during the executive session, speaking on the condition of anonimity, told the Tribune that Mr. Duterte sought their support in backing his administration’s policies and programs.
“President Duterte basically instructed mayors to cooperate with him and even praised some of those active in fighting illegal drugs,” the source said.
The President invited local executives present at the gathering of the League of City Mayors in Pasay City to talk about Mr. Duterte’s thick list of government officials allegedly in cahoots with narcotic syndicates.
Asked if there were specific names named during the meeting, the source declined to disclose “anything about names”.
Another source, a Mayor from Metro Manila told the Tribune in a text message that Mr. Duterte’s message was “focused on anti-drugs”.
“We are not allowed to talk about it yet,” the lady Mayor said, noting that the President instructed them not to say anything about it.
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella confirmed to reporters in an ambush interview that Mr. Duterte’s message to mayors is centered on his no-nonsense crackdown of the narcotics industry.
“The intent is to have a conversation in the same way that the president, he has not really met with the mayors, in order to directly discuss his positions especially regarding criminality, crime and drugs,” Abella said.
“I’d rather state that it’s a conversation, it’s a dialog between the president and the local chief executives,” he added.
In his speech on Monday, Mr. Duterte mulled to confront local chief executives jotted down in his thick narco-list saying that he is giving them the option to either drop their posts or leave the meeting dead.
“I will call the mayors, I will lock them in so it’s just us. I will really tell them, ‘The list I gave you is this thick. Look for your name there, mayor. If your name is there, son of a bitch, you have a problem, I will really kill you,’” the President said.
“The first thing that I would do is to deprive you of the supervisory powers over the police, second is I will remove all of your security detail,” he added.
The President also said that he does not give a damn even if he will “go down on the history as the Butcher.”