Philippines President Duterte may declare martial law next week, military

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte may declare nationwide martial law next week if threatened massive protests by communists and other leftists against his rule turn violent or disrupt the country, his defense chief said Friday.

“He said, if the left will try to have a massive protest, start fires on the streets, they will disrupt the country, then I might [declare martial law],” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

Lorenzana emphasized he thought the chances of Duterte declaring martial law were remote because he doubted the scheduled protests on Thursday next week would be as big as the organizers said they were planning.

A coalition of groups naming themselves the “Movement against tyranny” had announced it was planning protests on September 21, the 45-year anniversary of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposing his military rule.