Pubdate: Mon, 16 Jan 2017
Source: Manila Times (Philippines)
Copyright: 2017, The Manila Times
Author: Catherine S. Valente


Also Threatens To Kill Governors, Bomb Kidnappers

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday denied claims he wants to declare
martial law to extend his term in office.

But Duterte talked tough, threatening to kill provincial governors
involved in drugs after saying the same to mayors last week, and ordered
security forces to bomb kidnap gangs even if they held hostages.

Speaking before the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the
President stressed he had no ambition to prolong his stay in power.

"Those in Manila, who are thinking about martial law, lengthening your
stay. That's b*s*...Am I exceedingly happy being the President of the
Philippines? I will answer you -- I do not need the position at this time
of my life," he said.

Duterte however criticized the constitutional restrictions on martial law
and said that if he had his way, declaring such would be the President's
sole prerogative.

"You know these martial law provisions to defend the country, [they were
destroyed by the]Cory [Aquino] administration, because of their hangover
on martial law," he said, referring to the regime of the late strongman
Ferdinand Marcos.

Duterte said he would place the entire country under martial law only when
needed to "protect and preserve the safety of the people."

NARCO-POLITICOS President Rodrigo Duterte points to photos of government
officials linked to drugs. MALACAA'ANG PHOTO

"I have to protect the Filipino people, and I tell you now, if I have to
declare martial law, I will declare it," the President said.

"I will declare Martial Law to preserve my nation. The right to preserve
one's life and my country transcends everything else," he added.

Duterte has been talking about declaring martial law as an option. In
August, he asked Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno if she would rather
have the President declare martial law after the chief magistrate opposed
Duterte's public naming of judges allegedly involved in drugs.

In October, Duterte again floated the idea of declaring martial law
because of the illegal drug trade, during a meeting with the Jewish
community at a Makati City synagogue.

Governors to be summoned

After his threat to kill mayors involved in drugs, Duterte plans to issue
the same stern "I will kill you" warning to governors.

"I'll be calling the governors by next week. I will really tell them, you
tell your barangay (village) captainsyou have supervisory powers over
them. Reiterate to themyou can't lecture all people, but don't get too
confident with me. Papatayin talaga kita [I will really kill you], believe
me. I will look for an ambush, poison you. It's true. I am not backing
down on this," Duterte said.

"If it (killing) causes my downfall, so be it. If I'm ousted, glad to go
out. Coup d'etat? Fine. Let's have a change, but I won't back down. I will
end this until the very last day. If it takes me six years, then six years
will be it," Duterte said.

Duterte also told Davao businessmen he had ordered security forces to bomb
escaping kidnap-for-ransom gangs, even if they are carrying hostages.

"My order for the Navy, Coast Guard, as long as there is a kidnapping
incident and these abductors tried to escapepasabugin mo na silang lahat
[bomb them all]. As for the hostagesorry, collateral damage," he said.

Duterte also confirmed the arrest of 26-year-old Datu Mohammad Abduljabbar
Sema -- one of the suspects in the September Davao City blast -- at the
Kuala Lumpur International Airport upon his arrival from Bangkok aboard
Air Asia flight AK 891 last November 2016.
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