President Rodrigo Duterte. (Kiwi Bulaclac/Presidential Photo)

President Rodrigo Duterte. (Kiwi Bulaclac/Presidential Photo)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Liza Madagas, 43, a daughter of a Martial law victim said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s new threat about on declaring Martial law was “too much.”

Madagas, an avid supporter of Duterte, said that she could never trust both the military and the law enforcement personnel, citing the experience of her mother during the dictatorship of the late Ferdinand Marcos.

“I have a huge trust to the president but I don’t have any trust to our military and police men. Even if the president will impose a strict rule, he still can’t hold the minds of these law enforcers because some of them have might abuse especially if they will be given powers to do so,” she said.

Madagas recounted how her mother, who was a lowly civilian farmer, suffered maltreatment from the military during the Marcos dictatorship.

“It was already evening when my mother was walking on her way home carrying food for her family. A group of soldiers called and ordered her to give up the food that she was carrying. She refused to give it to them at first, but later because she was threatened, she gave them the food,” she said.

For Elden Claire Devilleres, 22, and a law student of Ateneo de Davao University, Duterte’s remark about declaring Martial law was only an expression.

“The media only sensationalize the speech of President Duterte. If ever he will declare Martial law then it doesn’t mean it will cover the whole country,” she said.

Devilleres said that the president can declare Martial law if there is insurrection or rebellion. “It means a certain group is attempting to overthrow the government using arms for rebellion,” she said.

For its part, Gabriela Women’s party, scored Duterte over his Martial law remark saying such threat was a “bad joke.”

The women’s group argued that declaring such would only intensify the abuse and brutality perpetrated by both the police and military personnel.

Human rights groups have also criticized Duterte for his tough stance on Martial law. During a state funeral for Marcos, New York-based Human Rights Watch viewed it as “a jab in the still-open wounds of tens of thousands of Filipinos and their families who suffered under the Marcos regime.”

Karapatan said there were at least 120,000 persons imprisoned during Martial law, many are victims of warrantless and illegal arrests because of their political beliefs.

“The root causes of massive unrest of the Filipinos during the martial law – the corruption of public funds, repression, extreme poverty stemming from landlessness and joblessness, and neocolonial relations with the US  – are the same cause that still drives Filipinos to rebel and change the system. Marcos, as a response, declared martial law to cling on to power. The Filipino people will not let it happen once more,” the group said in statement.  (

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