Fear, Mr. President, is what you want to instill in our hearts and minds. Easily, you picked out a tool in your arsenal of scare tactics, provoked by the words of the Chief Justice, reminding you of due process in your unrelenting war on drugs.
When you let that dreaded phrase slip out of your lips, surrounded by soldiers in a military camp, the message was as clear as the setting. The whole scene was foreboding.
No, we are not treating this as a joke, an exaggeration, or as one of your rhetorical devices. We take this seriously.
In a little over a month as president, you have visited 14 military camps, showing that the military is your priority. We do not take issue with that.
But wooing the troops with the intention to impose martial law even in the clear absence of grounds? That is unacceptable.
We hate martial law the way you hate drugs, Mr. President. The feeling is visceral.
Thousands were detained and killed during those atrocious years, not even counting those who disappeared. Our freedoms were taken away from us, we couldn’t speak out, more so speak truth to power.
Human rights, that thing that you don’t care about, that you say shouldn’t be used as a shield to destroy this country, went out the window. Completely.
Yes, the Constitution allows you to call on the armed forces “to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.” And it continues: “In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, [the president] may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.”
This is not the first time you made your fixation with martial law public. As early as January 2014, you said: “I have no interest in running for president, but I will only agree if people will allow me to declare martial law.”
Enough, Mr. President.
To use your favorite words: don’t “destroy” our democracy; don’t “kill” our freedoms; and “stop” threatening to throw back the country to its authoritarian past. – Rappler.com