Speaking of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, it seems the drug-hating, murder-endorsing, police-arming leader has graduated from "strongman" status to full "dictator" this week with the declaration of martial law to deal with a terrorist attack on Marawi City in the southern part of the country.
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned Wednesday that he'll be harsh in enforcing martial law in his country's south as he abruptly left Moscow to deal with a crisis at home sparked by a Muslim extremist siege on a city, where militants burned buildings overnight and are feared to have taken hostages.
Duterte declared martial rule for 60 days in the entire southern Mindanao region, the restive third of the Philippine archipelago, Tuesday evening to try to crush Muslim extremists who have aligned themselves with the Islamic State group and occupied a hospital, jail and other buildings and battled troops in an audacious attack in Marawi City.
Martial law could be extended for a year depending on how long the problem could be quelled, Duterte said on board a plane en route to the Philippines.
"I said I would be harsh and I warned everybody not to force my hand into it," Duterte said. "I have to do it to preserve the republic."
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said troops raided the hideout of a top terrorist suspect in Marawi on Tuesday, sparking a gunbattle that prompted the militants to call for reinforcements from an allied group, the Maute. He said dozens of gunmen occupied city hall, a hospital and a jail and burned a Catholic church, a college and some houses in a bold attack that killed at least two soldiers and a police officer and wounded 12 others.
Several militants were killed in the fighting in Marawi city in Lanao del Sur province, about 830 kilometers (520 miles) south of Manila, but others continued to lay siege to the largely Muslim city of more than 200,000 people, officials said, adding that power was cut in the city in the chaos.
"The whole of Marawi city is blacked out, there is no light, and there are Maute snipers all around," Lorenzana said in the news conference in Moscow, which was broadcast live in the Philippines.
Ahh, but if you're going to be following the "martial law to deal with Muslim terrorists in a rogue province" playbook, you learn from the guy who wrote it.
Duterte met late Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said he is counting on Russia to supply weapons for the Philippines to fight terrorism.
"Of course, our country needs modern weapons, we had orders in the United States, but now the situation there is not very smooth and in order to fight the Islamic State, with their units and factions, we need modern weapons," he said, according to Russian state news agency Tass.
Why would Duterte want to deal with Trump to buy weapons when he can go directly to Trump's boss Vlad? That's who's really in charge of the US right now. Sure as hell isn't Donny calling the shots these days, he can barely survive the trip overseas without sending in Ivanka and Jared to cover for him.
And so it goes.