DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday there will be no need to impose martial law if he wins the presidency in this year’s elections.
“There’s no need for me to do that. All I need is for everybody to follow the law,” Duterte told 3,000 local treasurers and assessors.
He made the statement at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, where he attended the meeting of the members of the Philippine Association of Local Treasurers and Assessors Inc.
He said he would be hard on lawless elements but law-abiding citizens had nothing to worry about.
He said he would use the powers of the presidency and order the police and the military to go against drug dealers and other criminals, but he would not allow law-enforcement agencies to abuse their powers.
In commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution, Duterte’s camp said the revolution was a battle between a corrupt dictatorship and a people aching to restore democracy and the rule of law.
“The spirit of Edsa lives on today in each of us and it binds us together as the Filipino nation,” Duterte’s running mate Alan Peter Cayetano said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Duterte called administration standard bearer Manuel Roxas II an “epic failure” as secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
Quoting Duterte, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan spokeswoman Paola Alvarez said Roxas at the helm of the DoTC in the first two years “was responsible for the many problems now plaguing the Metro Rail Transit 3 along Edsa, including frequent breakdowns and numerous glitches in its daily operations.”
“Mr. Roxas’ performance as Interior secretary has been just as mediocre and he cannot claim any significant accomplishment,such as reducing the crime rate,” Alvarez said.
“Mr. Roxas also left the survivors of Super Typhoon ‘‘Yolanda’’ to their own devices in November 2013 and did nothing to help them get back on their feet simply because the city was led by a mayor identified with the opposition.”
She said Roxas was too callous and had even engaged in politicking amid Yolanda’s devastation in Tacloban City.
On Thursday, Duterte returned to his roots in the vote-rich province of Cebu as he made a homecoming in Danao City.
“We are really from Danao. We left and went to Mindanao in 1948,” he said.
He said he aims to be the first Cebuano-speaking and southern candidate to win the highest post in the land in over 50 years.
He said his father Vicente was once mayor of Danao, just like his uncle Ramon.
Danao City is being ruled by the Duranos, who are relatives of Duterte.
The last president to come from the Visayas was Boholano Carlos P. Garcia who took over as president when the late President Ramon Magsaysay died in a plane crash in 1957.
Garcia ran in the elections later in that year and won to serve for four years before he was defeated by Diosdado Macapagal in 1965.
The last Cebuano-speaking presidential candidate was Sergio Osmena Jr. who lost to re-electionist Ferdinand Marcos in 1969. Rio N. Araja