Duterte says tempted sometimes to declare martial law in Philippines over drug problem

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers a speech during a talk to the troops visit to meet military personnel in Manila.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers a speech during a talk to the troops visit to meet military personnel in Manila.PHOTO: AFP

MANILA (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - President Rodrigo Duterte has admitted that there were instances when he was tempted to declare martial law due to the worsening drug problem in the country.

"Sometimes I'm tempted really to declare martial law. But that's not possible, so fine. That's why I declared (a) state of lawlessness - because narco-politics has entered my country," Mr Duterte told the Jewish Association of the Philippines in Makati City on Tuesday (Oct 4).

Mr Duterte earlier declared a state of lawlessness following the deadly blast in his hometown of Davao City that took at least 14 lives.

The president then clarified that the declaration was not martial law but "would require nationwide, well-coordinated efforts of the military and the police" to counter terrorism and to boost the campaign against illegal drugs.

Mr Duterte maintained that the relentless crackdown on drugs would not stop until he finished his term despite what he called the "hypocrisy" of other countries and international bodies that call him out for extrajudicial killings and possible human rights abuses.

"It will be unrelenting and it will not stop until the last year of my term... If I'm taken out of office, fine. I will not stop despite the hypocrisy of EU, and America and Obama," the president said.