On the eve of the 45th anniversary of martial law and amid President Duterte’s repeated threats to declare it, the opposition bloc in the Senate called on Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to stand by his word that there is no need for a nationwide military rule.
It will be recalled that Lorenzana gave his assurance to Partido Liberal president Sen. Francis Pangilinan that the government will not declare martial law in Luzon and Visayas during the interpellation on the martial law extension in a Congress joint session last July.
When Pangilinan asked Lorenzana if the dismantling of private armed groups and the New People’s Army will lead to the declaration of martial law, the administrator of martial law said no.
“Ngayong mukhang nagbabalak si Pangulong Duterte na magdeklara ng martial law sa buong bansa, dapat panindigan ni Sec. Lorenzana ang kanyang pangako sa Kongreso na hindi ito gagawin ng pamahalaan,” Pangilinan said.
Magdalo Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV also called on Lorenzana to be true to his sworn oath to the republic to serve and protect the nation, its people, and its sovereignty.
Liberal Sen. Frank Drilon said that a nationwide declaration of martial law is unjustifiable and unnecessary, adding that the rallies on September 21 should not be used as reason for declaring martial law.
Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros dismissed Duterte’s statement that the September 21 protest might turn violent. She said that if there will be any violence, it will not come from the pro-democracy forces.
“The September 21 protests aim to stop the climate of violence and impunity under the Duterte government. It is therefore illogical on our part to engage in violent acts. We stand to gain nothing from it. On the contrary, it is those who are pushing for the declaration of martial law and authoritarian rule who will benefit the most from senseless violence,” said Hontiveros.
“Ang mapayapang pagkilos ay bahagi ng ating kasaysayan at ng ating demokrasiya. Ipagpapatuloy namin ito at ang pagprotesta sa kultura ng karahasan sa ating bansa,” said Liberal Sen. Bam Aquino.
Earlier, President Duterte said that he will not hesitate to declare martial law nationwide if things go out of hand during rallies on September 21. To this, Lorenzana said the possibility of President Duterte declaring martial law is “remote.”