By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times
FORMER senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said he would protect the Republic from any threat if there was massive protest against his leadership.
This was his reply when he faced on Tuesday the "Bakit Ikaw? The Presidential Job Interview" hosted by DZRH radio station and in partnership with The Manila Times.
Marcos was given a scenario wherein he was elected president but on the day of his oath-taking there was people power, aided by junior military officers.
The presidential candidate said the first thing he would do is to "finish" his oath-taking ceremony as the Chief Executive.
"With all the powers attached to the Office of the President you can behave and issue orders as a president. Sometimes it is a military solution, sometimes it is not," Marcos said.
"So, what could be the problem? What is the problem? So, you negotiate. Alangan naman (There's no way) we will start a civil war," he said.
But Marcos added, "So, you make sure that the safety...you have to defend the State, you have to defend the Republic from this kind of threat."
"So, gawin mo muna 'yan (So, you do that first). Make sure na buuin mo agad ang iyong gobyerno (that you immediately form your government)," the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard-bearer said.
"But at the same time you negotiate with the demonstrators. You negotiate with those opposing you, and see what is the problem," he said.
Professor Antonio Contreras, one of the columnists of The Manila Times and a panelist in the interview, said Marcos "did well."
"His knowledge of and familiarity with his platform and the principles behind his approach in governing is evident. The format suited him," Contreras said in a text message when asked to assess Marcos' performance.
Marcos continued, "You solidify your position. You stabilize the position of government. And with that use the power of government to them to negotiate."
"Mag-agree tayo walang putukan dahil marami masasaktan (Let's agree not to fire any shot because many [people] would get hurt)," he said.
Asked whether the declaration of martial law would be the last option to stabilize any political unrest, Marcos said, "That will harden the people's position eh."
"Wala na (That's the end of it). Kailangan very mahinahon ang ating galaw dahil magkamali lang konti ang daming masasaktan (We must exercise restraint because many would get hurt by any wrong move). We have to protect the community," Marcos said.
"But the bottom line is that you have to keep the peace and security of the community. You have to take care of the civilians. Make sure they are safe," the presidential candidate said.
Asked whether he rejects martial law in real life, Marcos said, "It has its place but only for war. Precisely why it's called martial law."
Marcos said he idolizes his father, the late former president Ferdinand Sr., who declared martial law on Sept. 23, 1972 supposedly to suppress communist-led rebellion, among other reasons.