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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana shrugged off claims that Memorandum Order No. 32 was a prelude to martial law.

The defense chief made the statement when asked to comment on Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison’s claim that the order is a preparation for the formal
declaration of martial law nationwide.

“Si Sison, gumagawa lang ng storya yan para mapansin siya. Wala na kasing pumapansin eh. Mula nang matigil peace talks sa Norway naging irrelevant na yan. So ngawa-ngawa siya dyan para mapansin siya ng gobyerno,” he said in an interview Saturday.

When it comes to peace talks with the rebels, the defense chief expressed doubt as the group has yet to show sincerity on the matter.

He noted that the rebels are using these lulls to strengthen their forces.

“Sison himself, may video kaming nakuha na sabi niya na ang No. 1 objective of the CPP-NDF (National Democratic Front) is still the armed struggle, na (that) ‘we will use all strategy to pursue this armed struggle including peace talks,’ ” Lorenzana added.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued Memorandum Order No. 32 on Friday amid ‘sporadic acts’ of violence allegedly committed by lawless groups particularly in the provinces of Samar, Negros Oriental and Occidental, and Bicol Region.

“There is a need to reinforce the directive of the President in order to prevent further loss of innocent lives and destruction of property and bring the whole country back to a state of complete normalcy as quick as possible,” the order said. (PNA)