Why is President Duterte, described by Senator Antonio Trillanes as " itching" to declare martial law, so damned convinced on declaring martial law?
Sources close to the Chief Executive said that this idea has already occupied the Chief Executive's mind after consulting with close friends a few days after being declared by COMELEC as winner of the 2016 presidential elections. One source says Mr. Duterte knows that his management style would surely not work inside Malacanan for one reason---Duterte is an action man. He's not a philosophical leader. He's a go-go man. For twenty three years, Duterte personally attended the needs of his constituency in Davao and he gets what he wants. Higher authorities have given him the resources to do what he wants in that city. No one dare question his authority since he keeps a secret armed group with him. Those unfamiliar with things are in this side of the world, keeping a private army is one of the prerequisites if you decide to jump into the political pond. No one wins or survives Mindanao politics without using or keeping arms.
Duterte is also a man of his word. He keeps his promises. During the 2016 elections, Duterte threw so many promises that the old man is worried that he will fail in most of what he promised in his first year. And yes, Duterte is surely bound to fail.
His anti-drug campaign is now compromised, thanks to high officials of the national police who earns millions from protecting Filipino, Chinese, Brazilian and Indian financiers of drug syndicates. A source told me that "it is business as usual." While the PNP undertakes an internal cleansing, drug syndicates continue manufacturing and supplying kilos upon kilos of shabu and distributing it to their local networks. The fact is--shabu prices have now "stabilized" and went back to their pre-2016 prices.
There is likewise, a breakdown of law and order as former drug addicts go into other less lucrative businesses. Kidnappings are on the rise. Pickpocketing and other small crimes rose.
Duterte vowed to annihilate the oligarchs yet not one is behind bars. No one from Duterte's allies filed charges against oligarchs identified by the President. The fact is, again basing on sources, the oligarchs do not fear Duterte. They have secured a stable line to the President courtesy of Mr. Bong Go and even Medialdea and Dominguez.
The fact is, Duterte has formed his own group of oligarchs, mainly business associates of his political backers from the South. As what has been feared by several groups since the beginning, Duterte is now being taken cared of by a small group of carpet baggers who are representing several business interests. These people are suggesting and are pushing for the declaration of martial rule for several reasons:
1. First, a country under martial law will neutralize members of civil society and those from the business community. Dissent will go down. Without dissent, these people will now freely do what they want since they will be answerable to Duterte only. And Duterte, being sick and his focus is on lessening the criminality rate, is not expected to do anything against these people for fear of getting booted out from office, similar to what happened with Erap in 2001.
2. Second, martial law should be declared prior to the SONA or the State of the Nation Address. Duterte will use the platform to ask Congress to extend further the declaration of martial law for about a year and to include Luzon and the Visayas. Since his anti-drugs campaign failed, Duterte will trumpet his success in neutralizing the Maute Group which attacked Marawi City. Every single analyst in the AFP know that it is very easy to neutralize the group since this is being well taken cared of by a political clique composed of local politicians. These politicians intend to enter into a political concession with the Duterte administration. The minute these people get what they want, they will then kill all high-ranking members of the Maute Group, which includes several foreign ISIS fighters who were lured into it due to propaganda.
Why declare prior to SONA?
Duterte and his close advisers are on a state of paranoia--they believe their own yarn that a group is out to oust Mr. Duterte from power. Some close to Duterte believes that these destabilizers or coup plotters are out to get him before he delivers the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Others think that Duterte is now convinced that it is time to use extreme measures to effect the changes he wants done before he steps down from office. Duterte supporters have proposed the establishment of a Revolutionary Government, but since this is extra-constitutional, the idea was scuttled.
They are now experimenting with martial law. And I agree with what Joma said---Duterte is playing with fire.