We should know by now that such theatrical bombast is part of the President’s oratorical repertoire.
His bluster should be likened to a dog that always barks but seldom bites.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship launch at SMX Convention Center in Davao city, southern Philippines January 15, 2017 © Lean Daval Jr / Reuters
This thing about Martial Law should be filed under outlandish threats like riding a Jetski to the Spratlys, or feeding the fish of Manila Bay with bodies of salvage victims.
There is no basis to declare Martial Law. Rebellion has been tamed. No foreign army is steaming towards our shores to invade us. And as the President himself likes to brag, crime is down and the people are safe in their homes and communities.
And as to the real enemies of the people – joblessness, hunger, poor social services – these cannot by suppressed by the armed forces.
Another claim which has no legal leg to stand on is the assertion that the declaration of Martial Law is a unilateral act of the chief executive.
The Constitution, which the President had sworn to uphold in his oath of office, empowers Congress to revoke it, to cite one of many safeguards.
It is also subject to Supreme Court review, and if to last more than 60 days, to congressional concurrence.
Martial Law is a cure worse than the perceived disease. At a time when we project stability to reel in tourists and investors, a Martial Law declaration will show the opposite, of how unstable we are.
The problems we face today do not require the calling in of the army. We do not burn the house down to kill a few rats.