De Lima: Threat of martial law expansion 'troubling'

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(File photo) Senator Leila de Lima

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 16) — Senator Leila de Lima on Saturday slammed the defense chief over his remark on martial law.

"The recent pronouncement by no less than Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that Duterte might declare martial law in the event impending mass actions next week turn violent is troubling and worrisome," she said in a dispatch, while detained in Camp Crame for drug-related charges.

De Lima, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, said mass actions do not warrant the declaration of martial law.

"Lorenzana might have to go back to being sober and remind Duterte that first, mass actions, even if they do turn violent, do not constitute rebellion or invasion, the two prerequisites for martial law," she said.

Lorenzana, who is also the martial law administrator, said on Friday that Duterte will declare a nationwide martial law only if there are massive protests across the country, but added the possibility of it happening is "very remote."

READ: Declaring martial law nationwide 'very remote' - defense chief

Even with leftists demonstrations expected on the September 21, the anniversy of former President Ferdinand Marcos' martial law declaration, Lorenzana doubts these will be big enough to warrant an expansion of martial law.

The defense chief's pronouncement followed Duterte's earlier remark, who addressed the protesters on September 9.

"Do not commit the mistake of staging a rebellion. '"Yung sabihin mo na there's a fighting on the streets. I will not hesitate to impose martial law all throughout the country and order the arrest of everybody," Duterte said.

Meanwhile Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año on Friday said he has no knowledge of Duterte's plan to expand martial law.

"I am not aware of any such kind of plan or intention, so kami naman, ang Armed Forces, we react and we do appropriate actions as the threats come or a situation," Año said.

He added rallies are just "normal," and is "part of our democratic space."