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Recounting a conversation he had with Duterte earlier this week, Mr Lorenzana said: 'He said, "if the left will try to have a massive protest, start fires on the streets, they will disrupt the country, then I might declare martial law".'The president has already imposed martial law across the southern third of the Philippines after ISIS-backed militants occupied Marawi, a major Islamic city there in May.
The ensuing conflict has since claimed more than 800 lives.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte may declare nationwide martial law if protests against his rule turn violent or disrupt the country, his defence chief said today.
The threat comes after the leader imposed martial law in the south of the country in May as the country battles ISIS-backed militants in the region.
He has repeatedly threatened to impose the policy nationwide, but neither he nor his aides have previously given a specific time frame or event that would trigger it.
A coalition of opposition groups calling themselves 'Movement Against Tyranny' have announced a planned demonstration in the capital Manila next week.
The group will be protesting against Duterte's violent war on drugs, which has so far claimed thousands of lives, as well as his attacks on the country's democratic institutions.
But Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said any disruption caused by demonstrators could be met with military force.
We would be much higher now in the ranking of nations, in the appreciation of other nations for the Philippines, if we did not have martial law.'As a military man, please understand how deep my statements are.So he said, "I might declare martial law".'Movement Against Tyranny has announced that it will be holding a protest on September 21, the 45-year anniversary of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos imposing his military rule.The coalition voiced outrage at Duterte's public support for Marcos, who was overthrown in the 'People Power' revolution in 1986 and was exiled to the US where he died three years later.Do not tell me any of you will enjoy martial law.'Ramos was a former security chief for Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who also ruled through martial law, before joining the rebellion against him and eventually helping to overthrow him in 1986.Duterte had praised Marcos' use of martial law, which saw billions of dollars plundered from the economy and thousands of opponents detained or killed.