President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said he agreed with the military assessment that there was no need to declare martial law, even as he raised the threat of Islamist terror groups on the Philippines.
Days after saying no one could stop him if he wanted to do so, Duterte also stressed that no one could keep him from imposing military rule if need be, adding that he would so quietly.
"I will not declare martial law. Kung magde-declare man ako, hindi ako mag-ingay. At magtanong anong basis, p— ina ka, wala kang pakialam. Basta tumahimik kayong lahat," Duterte said to applause in Cabanatuan City.
Duterte questioned the wisdom of having to take up the validity of a martial law declaration with Congress or the Supreme Court.
"Ganoon iyan eh. Sino ba namang gagong presidente, 'Mag-declare ako ng martial law. O Supreme Court, pwede ba ito? Congress?' Basta ako, it is not found in the Constitution," Duterte said.
"It is not written there but if I feel as President that I have to preserve my country, I will declare martial law, pero kung sabihin lang ninyo na peace and order ganoon," he added.
An Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman earlier this week said that it saw no need to recommend the President's declaration of martial law.
Duterte agreed but adverted to developments regarding ISIS.
"Ngayon, tama ang military. There is no compelling reason [to declare Martial Law]. But I will just fill you in the days to come. It's ISIS is coming in very fast. Itong Mindanao is a pure case of rising nationalism," Duterte said.
"Ngayon, iba na ang istorya because the ISIS contaminated Mindanao," he added.
Duterte then turned his attention to media reporting on his pronouncements.
"Ang media kasi hindi nakikinig eh. Ang naririnig lang nila martial law. Hindi ako stupid. Mas bright tayo sa kanila. Alam mo sa totoo lang, kung mas bright sila sa akin, sila ngayon ang gumagamit nito," Duterte said.
"Eh ako bright. And besides it's a God-given not even gift but it's a God-given task and I won't do it for a flimsy reason," he added. —NB/JST, GMA News