Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to impose martial law on the country if he deems it necessary to continue his administration’s violent crackdown against illegal drugs.
“I have to protect the Filipino people. It is my duty. And I tell you now, if I have to declare martial law, I will declare it,” Duterte said, in a speech before a group businessmen in his hometown of Davao on Saturday night.
“I don’t care about the Supreme Court. No one can stop me,” he said. “The right to preserve one’s life and my nation … transcends everything else, even the limitations.”
Duterte has vowed to stamp out the trade and use of illegal drugs in the Philippines to stop the country from becoming what he called a narco-state. The crackdown has led to at least 5,700 deaths in the last six months, and accusations of security forces being involved in extra-judicial killings — a practice Duterte endorses.