I don’t know if martial law is coming to the Philippines but I think it is more likely than not. It all stems from the new President, Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. He is not a “do nothing” president that is for certain. He is bringing changes within the Philippines and doing it in a very short time.
I will make no judgement on if these actions are good or bad. People will argue with me again about foreigners’ free speech in the Philippines. We have none. The PNP has made an issue of this several times, usually centered on protest in the Philippines. They warn foreigners not participate because we are not allowed political involvement in the Philippines. My only purpose in writing about this is that these changes could impact those of us living here. There will likely be both positive and negative changes. You can find documentation on foreigners being forbidden protest in the Philippines here.
War on Drugs in the Philippines
A huge part of Mr. Duterte’s platform while running on office was his promise to eradicate crime in the Philippines within six months of taking office. He has been quoted in the press many times as saying “I will kill you” when referring to drug dealers.
There are numerous reports in the press that since he took office over 500 people, believed to be drug dealers or enablers have been killed. Shortly after taking office he started naming officials that he says are involved in the drug trade. One of them he has commented that it hurt him to do so because he considers that person a friend. I think it was a former mayor of Cebu City.
Mr. Duterte Names Drug Dealers
He recently read off a list of elected officials, judges, police officers and others that he says are involved with drugs along with a warning that they should turn themselves in or possibly face death. You can find that list here. These people were told report to their superiors or be hunted down.
He is meeting some resistance but from what I can tell many Filipinos support him in his efforts. One congressman is speaking out, saying the people that were named have had their reputations ruined without due process. You can see more here.
President Duterte Threatens Martial Law
Not long after he released this list, the Chief Justice of the Philippines Supreme Court sent a letter to Duterte. It seems the letter stated that only the judiciary could discipline judges. Duterte soon appeared for speech before the military where he was described as “Visibly angry” and indicated that if the Supreme Court attempted to block his efforts to rid the Philippines of illegal drugs there would be constitutional war and that everyone would lose. To read about the details on this, you can visit this link.
Duterte is A Popular President
When he entered office, he came in with an approval rating of 91% and a landslide victory. I asked on FaceBook if Filipinos cared if Duterte declared martial law. Most said it wouldn’t happen and not one person replied negatively about Duterte. From my observations there and elsewhere, he seems to have widespread support among Filipinos. There are many signs around the Philippines stating “I am Filipino and Duterte is my president.”
My Thought on Duterte
I will offer this thought about President Duterte. He will do what he thinks is right to the best of his ability. As president, his ability is abundant. I also don’t think he cares much about the rules of bureaucracy.
It is hard to say how Duterte will end up affecting foreigners living in the Philippines. We might be safer from all the dead criminals. Previously, he was mayor of Davao. He has a long reputation of using extra-judicial methods to deal with criminals. Like I said, I’m restrained on giving my thoughts regarding this. Please be aware of that should leave a comment and I hope you will.
Filed under: Living In The Philippines
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