The Magdalo party-list group said Tuesday that nationwide martial law had been the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte all along. Rey Baniquet/Presidential Photo, File

Nationwide martial law is Duterte's plan all along, says Magdalo
Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) - December 19, 2017 - 11:28am

MANILA, Philippines — The approval of the one-year extension of martial law and pronouncements from the country's police chief were signs that a nationwide military rule had been the objective of President Rodrigo Duterte, according to an opposition party-list.

The Magdalo party-list said that martial law in Mindanao and its extension were meant to "condition" the minds of Filipinos into thinking that military rule was ordinary and acceptable when it should not.

"Just weeks after Congress approved the 1-year extension of martial law in Mindanao and we now have the PNP Chief insinuating and framing before the public as if martial law in Luzon and Visayas is also necessary," Magdalo said.

Philippine National Police chief Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa said Monday that the country's cops would support Duterte, their commander-in-chief, should he decide to place the Philippines under martial law.

Although stating that there was no reason for a nationwide military rule, Dela Rosa said he would listen to his regional directors if they were in "unison" that there was a need for martial law in the whole Philippines, which was last placed under such condition in 1972 during the time of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Magdalo said that the inclusion of Maoist rebels, who have presence in many parts of the country, was meant to lay the ground for the declaration of military rule nationwide.

It added that Duterte's attacks on the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army, were "puzzling" considering that he used to have close ties with them. The group said that Duterte supported them during his time as mayor of Davao City and pursued their agenda.

"He even comfortably appointed communist allies in the government. Wittingly or unwittingly, Duterte will use the retaliatory strikes of NPA as justification to place the whole country under martial law," it said.

Duterte's support for the country's security forces and the extension of the term of duty of Dela Rosa, known locally as "Bato" or rock, were meant to solidify their support for his agenda.

"His extension purportedly to finish a secret infrastructure project is a mere cover. We all know any PNP Chief could do just the same," the group said of Duterte's recent announcement that he was deferring Dela Rosa's retirement in January.

The president's attacks on democratic institutions and processes and his administration's efforts to erode and abolish them showed his "evil intentions."

"The signs are clear. We have been warned. It is now upon all of us whether or not we will let the selfish desires of a few to reign once more," the Magdalo group said, which counts among its members opposition lawmakers Rep. Gary Alejano and Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.

Duterte has not ruled out placing the country under military rule, especially if the nation's survival is already at stake, saying that such option is "on the table."

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