MANILA - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday defended President Rodrigo Duterte's statements on a possible second declaration of martial law, saying Duterte was not referring to a repetition of martial law abuses during the Marcos regime.
AFP spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the President was likely referring to "the breadth and the depth" of the martial law declaration.
"After all, in the pronouncement and declaration of martial law, sinabi niya na if you are a law-abiding citizen, martial law is not a problem that you worry about," Padilla said in a press briefing in Malacañang.
Duterte on Saturday said he will follow the decision of the Supreme Court on his martial law declaration. However, should circumstances compel him to declare martial law a second time, it could be a copycat of the former dictator's martial law.
"But if that rebellion burns Mindanao and the other parts of the Philippines, and I will be forced to declare martial law again, this time, I will do it on my own to preserve my nation," Duterte said while in Butuan City.
"I will not consult anybody and there is no telling when it will end. Wala na. Basta… then it could be a copycat of Marcos."
For Padilla, the President's statements was likely made in jest.
"The nature of the exchange between the media and the President was light enough that shouldn't be reflected or translated otherwise, so by that nature alone, yung banter was light, he could not have meant that abuses and all about martial law," he explained.
The Palace echoed the AFP's explanation that Duterte's remarks may have only referred to the dimensions of the martial law.
"The president was talking about the length and depth and the breadth of the efforts to be placed in martial law, especially since his first and last consideration regarding martial law is public safety," Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.