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MUST READ: Ang Dahilan kung bakit nais ni Duterte ang Marcos-style martial law power.Alamin!

Former Marcos Information Minister Francisco Tatad Jr. believes that there is a deeper reason other than crime, drugs and terror for President Rodrigo Duterte’s desire to have sole authority to declare martial law.

Tatad said that Duterte’s recent talk of wielding martial law powers without judicial and congressional approval just like the powers held by President Ferdinand Marcos when he declared martial law in 1972 was part of his ultimate goal of establishing a “revolutionary government” which he discussed openly during his campaign.

“It appears that while DU30 talks every now and then about his presidency being a mistake, and wanting to step down as soon as possible, he is at bottom more deeply interested in a total consolidation of power to silence all opposition to his despotic rule. Why should martial law become a matter of urgent concern, if he is not at all interested in it as one of his options?” said Tatad in his Manila Times column. 

Tatad said Duterte planned to create the revolutionary government with the help of his “communist-in-chief in the Cabinet”, Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., who unveiled a new political party, Kilusang Pagbabago (KP) composed of Duterte mass-based followers to “protect” Duterte from critics of his radical reforms. Evasco proposed to have a KP office in each of the 42,028 barangays in the country. Tatad said that KP’s ideological leanings were obvious as its “regional coordinators are all members of the Communist Party of the Philippines.”

“Obviously Evasco has come to realize that replacing the existing structure with a communist one is not going to be a ‘piece of cake’, and DU30 must have realized that he cannot possibly declare a revolutionary government without first abolishing the Constitution, and his own position as President and commander-in-chief. 

In which case, somebody else might seize power from him. This is probably where a repackaged martial law could come in,” Tatad said. 

Tatad said that Duterte was not “totally wrong” in pushing to amend the 1987 Constitution provision limiting martial rule to 60 days and only to stop an invasion or rebellion; requiring Congress’ approval within 48 hours; and subjecting it to review by the Supreme Court.

He said former Justice Secretary Estelito Mendoza also took note of the “inherent contradictions in this provision have rendered it dysfunctional.” 

But Tatad said Duterte’s remark was ill-timed “since there is no risk of the country being invaded, and the communists have become coalition partners of the government, and peace talks are ongoing with the Moro rebellion, there is no reason for us to be talking of martial law as a response to invasion or rebellion.”


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