CPP: 'Duterte's plot to declare nationwide martial law underway'
MANILA, Philippines – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) cited recent developments in Congress to support its belief that President Rodrigo Duterte's "plot" to declare nationwide martial law is "underway."
The CPP sent the statement to the media on Thursday, September 14, the same day leftist lawmakers broke away from the House majority to step up their "opposition to the Duterte administration."
"Rodrigo Duterte's plot to declare nationwide martial law is underway. He is increasingly desperate amid broad rising calls for his ouster. He seeks to prop himself up as a fascist dictator in his despair to cling to power," it said.
The CPP said the President and "his shameless cohorts of congressional supermajority allies" have "railroaded" the national ID system and are working for the cancellation of the scheduled barangay elections in October so that Duterte can appoint his "loyalists" to barangay positions.
It also cited lawmakers' bid to impeach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. "They acted swiftly to impeach the Chief Justice as an overt threat to make the Supreme Court and judiciary bow to Malacañang's whims," it said.
On Thursday, several lawmakers from the Liberal Party and their allies in the House of Representatives issued a statement calling out the Duterte administration for actions that indicate it is "looming closer towards becoming a dictatorship."
They cited the House-approved P1,000 budget for the Commission on Human Rights, the impeachment complaints against Sereno, the "targeting" of youth in the drug war, allegations of cheating against LP chairperson Vice President Leni Robredo, and moves to unseat the Ombudsman, as examples of the administration's rejection of dissent.
The CPP claimed the Duterte administration is using public funds to create an atmosphere receptive to the imposition of nationwide martial law.
"Duterte is presently carrying out a mind-conditioning campaign to justify his plan to impose martial law. Through mostly foul means, he has silenced critical opinion in mass media. He employs his horde of paid trolls to flood social media with Duterte adulation and to villify the Left and political opposition," it said. (READ: Duterte's falling out with the Left)
The CPP alleged that public funds are being used to build Duterte's "Kilusang Pagbabago propaganda machinery and Masa Masid (now renamed Community Mobilization Project, comparable to the Alsa Masa movement in Davao City) spy network."
"In the guise of stopping 'fake news,' the regime is set to clamp down on media freedom and the right to free expression," it added.
Duterte imposed martial law in Mindanao on May 23, following the attack of local terrorists linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) in Marawi City. He had denied plans to expand the military rule nationwide, but recently floated the idea of setting up a revolutionary government in the country, though he clarified he was "not into it."
The CPP issued the statement a week after the Commission on Appointments rejected Rafael Mariano, another nominee of the Left to the Duterte Cabinet, as agrarian reform secretary. The powerful body had also rejected the appointment of Left nominee Judy Taguiwalo as social welfare secretary.
Peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF) under the current administration seemed promising in the early months of the presidency of Duterte, who claimed to be a socialist. The talks had been bogged down by the demand of the NDF for the release of over 100 political prisoners, rebel attacks on government troops, and Duterte's demand for a ceasefire declaration from the CPP. – Rappler.com