Palace: Recent bombings not a set-up for martial law

Pia Ranada
Palace: Recent bombings not a set-up for martial law
Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella tells the public that the Hilongos and Cotabato bombings are 'an area of concern but not alarm'

MANILA, Philippines – The Palace assured the public that despite recent bombings in Cotabato and Leyte, there is no indication that President Rodrigo Duterte will declare martial law.

“These are not indicators, that the context of being a set-up for, let’s say, declaration of martal law, for example,” said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella during a Palace news briefing on Thursday, December 29.

He was referring to the bombing at Hilongos town in Leyte Wednesday night that injured over 30 people and the bombing in Midsayap, Cotabato that wounded 13 on Christmas Eve.

On Thursday night, another bomb wounded 7 in Aleosan town, Cotabato.

All incidents are being investigated by authorities, said Abella.

The explosions should not be cause for alarm among the public since there is no confirmation yet that they were acts of terrorism, said the spokesman.

“It’s an area of concern but not alarm…Why so? Simply because, first and foremost, nobody has made actual claims regarding responsibility, has not taken responsibility for those explosions so we cannot pinpoint a specific area or person responsible,” said Abella.

Duterte had given various statements on the likelihood of him declaring martial law.

He said he had been “tempted” to declare martial law because of the spread of drugs even as he also said martial law will not improve the lives of Filipinos.

Recently, he said he believes the President should have the sole power to declare martial law instead of requiring Congress approval to continue martial law.

The Philippines continues to be under the state of national emergency declared by Duterte after the deadly Davao City bombing last September. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at