La ley marcial permitiría al presidente filipino, Rodrigo Duterte, recurrir al ejército para hacer cumplir la ley civil y detener a cualquier persona sin formular cargos.
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The 71-year-old former state prosecutor said the aim would be "to preserve the Filipino people and the youth of this land".
About 6,000 people have been killed in six months under Mr Duterte's anti-drugs crackdown.
He says he is acting to prevent the country from becoming a narco-state.
"If I wanted to, and it will deteriorate into something really very virulent, I will declare martial law if I wanted to. No one will be able to stop me," Mr Duterte said in a speech to businesspeople in the southern city of Davao on Saturday.
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Thumbnail: Flickr CC John Berns