Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told the reporters on Friday that there is a remote chance for President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to declare a nationwide martial law next week, recalling a conversation he had with the former last week.
“Sinabi na rin ni Presidente ‘yan eh. Sabi niya, ‘Kung left will try to have a massive protest, magsunog sila sa kalsada, they will disrupt the country, then I might [declare martial law] (He said if the left will try to have a massive protest, start fires on the streets, they will disrupt the country then I might declare martial law),” Lorenzana said.
This referred to the scheduled mass protest of various opposition groups expected on September 21, during the 45th anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law declaration.
Lorenzana highlighted that in his estimation; it was a ‘remote’ chance for Duterte to declare the said military rule, for he thought that the protest would not be that big, “So sabi niya (he said), ‘I might declare martial law.’ But I don’t think the possibility that the left will be able to conduct a massive demonstration across the country, disrupting the civil government or the lives of the people, eh hindi naman siguro mangyayari ‘yun (I do not think that will happen),” he added.
However, the President had earlier announced that he might order a class and government work suspension on the 21st.
“This early, I am announcing that I am ordering a holiday para walang masaktan, walang ano kung may demonstration d’yan, magkagulo (so no one will be hurt in whatever demonstration in the event that there may be turmoil),” he said in an interview on PTV-4 on Thursday.
The said protest will oppose Duterte’s public support for Marcos, his war on drugs, his criticizing of organizations, persons, and institutions of democracy, the alleged police abuses of power, and human rights violations.