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Even if he has vowed to eliminate drugs in the country, President Duterte said he would not declare martial law amid fears that his iron-clad policy might lead him to become a dictator.

While he knew that the drug menace is a serious problem when he was still mayor, Duterte said he only learned about the real magnitude of the drug problem when he became president.

“Ngayon diyan, public officials, personnel, judges, NBI at ang police. Paano ko makaya ito? Hindi ko naman ito madampot, at payatin ko. Wala iyan eh. Ayaw ko na noong Martial Law,” Duterte said in a speech at a military camp in Pili, Camarines Sur. The President’s statement came on the 44th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law by former president Ferdinand Marcos in 1972.

He admitted having a hard time to prosecute drug personalities because of the technicality of the law.

“But the problem is now all encompassing, and it is destroying our nation. Pati ako hindi ko alam ano talaga ang gawin ko dito. Kasi kung ito ang shabu, kailangan hulihin mo ako nakahawak nito – just like a gun,” he said.