By DAVID FOSTERMANO, AP Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday that he has “liberated” the Philippines from Communist Party-controlled rule, the same day his government approved the first of two sweeping elections that he says will usher in an era of democratic rule.
In a nationally televised address, Duterte said the Philippine military and its allies have successfully eliminated the Communist Party and restored the rule of law.
“We have liberated our country, we have liberated the country from the control of any political party,” Duterte said.
“We have now liberated the Philippines to its rightful place in the world.
We have liberated democracy and freedom.”
Duterte has called the elections “the biggest victory in our nation’s history.”
He has called for an “electoral revolution” that will allow his administration to impose martial law and remove “criminals” from office.
He has also said he will pardon former president Benigno Aquino III, who was sentenced to five years in prison in April for graft.
The Philippine National Police has confirmed that it has carried out a raid on a building housing the party and its regional allies in the southern city of Marawi and seized the leaders’ office.
The government has yet to confirm who is behind the raid, which was conducted hours before Duterte was due to speak.
Aquino was forced to step down in a palace coup in December 2016 after being ousted by the military in an attempted coup led by former vice president Leni Robredo.
Robredo was later convicted of corruption and sentenced to 15 years in jail for her role in the plot.