Lawless violence ‘legal and factual’

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THE “STATE of Lawless Violence” declared by President Rodrigo Duterte has “legal and factual basis,” government legal authorities said on Sunday.

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Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd told The Manila Times the power of the President to declare a State of Lawless Violence is legally justified under the 1987 Constitution.

The bombing in Davao City, rampant killings and threats from groups that had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State serve as factual basis to make such declaration, he said.

“The power of the President to declare a State of Lawlessness is legally justified under his constitutional authority to faithfully execute the laws, protect the people from lawless and criminal elements. Not to mention the rampant killings, and the [Islamic State] threat to commit terrorism,” Aguirre said.

Chief Public Attorney Persida Rueda-Acosta stressed that civil liberties are not suspended, but said the Public Attorney’s Office would be on “red alert” and provide free legal assistance to anyone who will be arrested without the assistance of a lawyer.

Acosta said Duterte was within the “calling out powers” of the President as commander in chief of the Armed Forces.

“The President has the discretion and it is within his powers. It has factual basis since there are persons not following the law. It is lawlessness,” she argued.

The PAO chief also said that after the declaration of the State of Lawless Violence, more police and soldiers could be deployed by the government. Hence, more checkpoints and a curfew could be imposed.

‘Calling out powers’
Aguirre pointed out the Chief Executive swore to defend the Constitution and protect the people from lawless violence.

The Cabinet official repeated previous clarifications by the Palace that the declaration of the State of Lawless Violence “is not Martial Law but a precautionary measure of the President as commander in chief to protect the people. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is constitutionally mandated to protect the people from lawlessness.”

“It is not martial law because the military is not being called to replace civilian authority, civil liberties are not impaired. In other words, it is just a declaration of State of Lawlessness, nothing more,” the DOJ chief added.

Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution states: “The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”

During the time of President Joseph Estrada, the Supreme Court declared as constitutional a presidential order on the Marines to assist the police at checkpoints to suppress lawless violence, in the case titled Integrated Bar of the Philippines vs Ronaldo Zamora.

In the 2006 case of Randy David vs President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the high tribunal upheld Presidential Proclamation 1017 declaring a state of national emergency.

The high court said the “only criterion for the exercise of the calling-out power is that “whenever it becomes necessary,” the President may call the Armed Forces to “prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”

Declaration planned
Also on Sunday, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo admitted President Duterte already had plans to declare a nationwide State of Lawless Violence even before the bombing incident in Davao City Friday night.

“Actually we are already in the planning stage. In fact, we are already drafting the proclamation,” Panelo said in a radio interview over DZBB.

Panelo said the President cited three serious issues that could justify the declaration, one of which is the illegal drug problem that has affected 98 percent of barangay (villages) in the country.

He noted that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency had estimated that two to three million Filipinos were addicted to drugs, and the number could be higher now.

The President believes there are already 3.7 million drug addicts in the country, which translates to 3.7 potential criminals, Panelo added.

“That is how serious the President looks at the drug problem in the country,” he said.

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7 Comments

  1. williampenalver on

    Before the 2016 elections, and during the election period Pres. Duterte was clear about his plans. Fight criminality, corruption and illegal drugs. He is making true his campaign promise. Therefore, as person , a leader he has the INTEGRITY and the CREDIBILITY needed to withstand the realities of this work. In deed, he is doing correctly and the masses feel happy and contented about it. With 91% believing in him, we could easily say that less than 9% is totally going against our leader (of course, there is that certain %age of undecided). That group of people could , as they say (the decent filipinos), belong to his political foes (LP, etc.) For many of us, the President is working at his best and is preparing future generations for a BETTER PHILIPPINES. GOD BLESS US ALL FILIPINO PEOPLE.

    • Mr. guzman, thev 15-16 m who vote for him and thousands of Pinoys abroad who supports Mr. Duterte, so your voice is nothing/nada/ useless, if you really heat him you can cry like a river or better yet jump in the river and take people like you with you. Phils. is better off with out you clowns.

    • Typical Filipino mentality….kapag may nakaupo pinagre-resign na akala mo mas magaling siya sa nakaupong pinuno ng bayan…crab mentality!

    • sino ipapalit mo..si de lima na isa sa mga drug lord coddler? o ang lider ng abu sayyaf? you people don’t really want a change…you want the status quo to prevail. look at the drug addicts, i can only presume that there is one among your relatives who is hook to drugs or maybe you? Duterte was elected by the highest majority of people in an elections who want drastic change in the society and there are only few, and you are one among them, who want the status quo that was in place before the elections.

  2. Many of Duterte’s critics say the same thing accusing him of using the bombing and the declaration of “State of Lawlessness” as a prelude to Martial Law even claiming that Marcos did the same thing after the tragic Plaza Miranda bombing. Unknown to many which Marcos’ foes try not to disclose, the Plaza Miranda bombing was masterminded by Joma Sison and his NPA but was blamed on Marcos for decades until no less than former Sen. Jovito Salonga and Ret. General Victor Corpus both admitted that it was Joma. Surprisingly, Ninoy was not at the rally that night.