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Duterte's martial law remark only a 'warning,' says Panelo.

President Rodrigo Duterte's statement that he will declare martial law if the drug problem turns 'very virulent' was just a 'warning' to those who want to destroy society, his chief legal counsel said on Tuesday.

'The President's statement that he would declare martial law should the problem in the illegal drug trade become virulent - effectively threatening the existence of the institutions of the Republic, and putting in grave peril the integrity and survival of the nation - is but a dramatic and graphic presentation of an exercise of a presidential power and duty imposed on him by the Constitution,' Panelo said in a statement.

In a speech in Davao City on Saturday night, President Duterte said no one could stop him from declaring martial law if the situation in the Philippines becomes 'virulent.'

'If I want to, and if it will deteriorate into something really very virulent, I will declare martial law if I want to. No one can stop me,' Duterte said.

Panelo allayed fears brought by the President's statement.

'It is not a threat or an advance announcement of an imminent exercise of an emergency power, rather it is a warning to those who are bent on destroying the fabric of society that President Duterte will not watch in utter helplessness in its destruction,' he said.

It is also an assurance to the people that he will not equivocate in using a constitutional power to preserve the integrity and survival of the nation.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jan 17, 2017
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