President Rodrigo Duterte would not have declared martial law if Filipino terrorists were the only ones who attacked Marawi City, he said Wednesday (June 28).
In a speech at the 140th founding anniversary of the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association Inc., Duterte said he was alarmed when the presence of foreign fighters in Marawi City was confirmed.
“Marawi was attacked by the ISIS together with the terrorists, mostly foreigners ‘yung nasa forefront and they were the Kuwaitis who were — parang puti ‘yan eh,” he said.
“Nung sabi ko, ‘Ilan?’ Sabi ko, ‘Ito na ‘yun.’ Kay kung terorista lang na local, I wouldn’t have declared martial law. But since they were already coming here because of their dream to establish a caliphate, a kingdom in Southeast Asia, sabi ko, ‘Delikado ito,'” Duterte added.
The President said he had to sign Proclamation No. 216 declaring martial law in Mindanao while he was on an official trip in Russia after being told the situation in Marawi City was “critical.”
“Nung sinabi sa akin ng mga military kasama ko na the situation is critical because they were attacking also civilians, I had to sign a declaration dated on that day but I signed it in Moscow — signed in Moscow, Russia. So that was the truth, I was there. But I sent the electronic copy of my declaration forthwith, so napadala ko,” he said.
Before knowing about the presence of foreign fighters in Marawi City, Duterte said he was stopping himself from declaring martial law even after the attacks launched by local terrorists because he did not want to exercise extraordinary powers “for a flimsy reason.”