Duterte’s “strong political tools” is insidious word-play for martial law

4 mins read

NDFP National Council
Public Information Office
Press Statement | November 6, 2018

Photo by Ace Morandante

Rodrigo Duterte is slick with his words when it comes to his plans of declaring nationwide martial law. Hedging, he uses terms like “strong political tools.”

He can call it by whatever name. His deeds betray his real intentions.

He already nonchalantly admits to militarizing the civilian government, simply because soldiers are “good at obeying orders.” He has thus packed more than 60 retired military generals, police directors, admirals and colonels into his Cabinet and other agencies, including government-owned corporations.

Former Col. Gregorio Honasan is the new secretary of the Dept. of Information, Communications and Technology, despite his lack of technical competence for the post.

The Bureau of Customs is now not only under newly retired AFP chief, Gen. Rey Guerrero. Its bureaucratic functions will also be under military control. This, after Duterte protegé Isidro Lapeña, himself a former police general, let P11 billion worth of shabu slip through.

In the aftermath of the Sagay 9 massacre, Duterte has ordered the military to shoot down peasants and farm workers tilling idle lands to stave off hunger. He also repeated an earlier warning that the homeless who occupy public housing will be arrested and shot.

He has ordered the Department of Justice to follow through on its case filed before a Manila court declaring the CPP-NPA as terrorist organizations, a prelude to cracking down on the legal Left and oppositionists who are being linked to the armed revolutionaries through imagined conspiracies.

He has announced the creation of the National Task Force designed to further militarize the civilian bureaucracy and imbue the latter with a fascist mindset. This, in the guise of “harmonizing all efforts of government agencies to solve … the armed conflict.” The task force will target “parliamentary struggle,” clamping down hard on the rising youth and labor movements which are seen to be sources of fresh recruits for the NPA.

This early, Duterte has also floated the possibility of extending martial law in Mindanao, citing bombing incidents and bomb threats purportedly from the NPA.

Harping on the themes of “chaos and disorder,” Duterte denies having martial law in mind but ominously threatens his perceived enemies against “forcing his hand.”

All of the incidents he invokes, however — drug smuggling through Customs, the massacre of peasants by AFP-directed paramilitaries, bomb attacks and spurious bomb threats, destabilization plots by a supposed Red-Yellow-Magdalo cabal — bear the marks of a contrived scenario designed to sow panic, terror and confusion among the populace.

But the people will not be blindsided by Duterte’s seeming ambivalence, which is calculated to deceive.

They know that his resort to “strong political tools” is the unflinching sign of the imminence of a formal nationwide martial law declaration.

The people’s resolute resistance to open fascist rule will doom Duterte’s sinister plans. ###

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