MANILA -- Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday said a 2016 proclamation by President Rodrigo Duterte declaring a state of national emergency provides sufficient legal underpinnings should the Chief Executive decide to declare martial law (ML) in Negros Oriental, which saw a spate of killings linked to communist terrorist groups.
"(M)ayroong inisyu ang Presidente na proclamation (The President issued a proclamation) early on, placing the entire country under state of lawlessness in view of yung mga nangyayari sa (what is happening in) Mindanao. The theory being it that (there might be) spill over anytime to other parts of the country, that's over and above the proclamation of ML, which subsequently happened. So, nauna dun (what happened prior to that) is a proclamation na (of) state of emergency arising from lawlessness throughout the entire country, so that covers in this particular case sa (in) Negros Oriental, so yun pa lang (as of now) that proclamation has not been revoked," Guevarra said.
Proclamation No. 55 was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Sept. 4, 2016, officially declaring a state of emergency in the Philippines in response to the Sept. 2, 2016 Davao City bombing that killed 14 people and seriously wounded at least 60 others.
Guevarra said that any declaration of martial law covering a part of the country must comply with the Constitutional requirements.
"In the matter of imposing a more severe, coercive function of the President, of course, depends on the constitutional requirements before a declaration of Martial Law is met. What are these? The existence of rebellion, or state of invasion and when public interest requires it," Guevarra said.
"Those are the requirements of the Constitution, if met, then the president will have the legal basis to declare Martial Law in Negros Oriental. Otherwise, if there is no rebellion there, no invasion there, so the President can make use of the other proclamation declaring a state of emergency," he added. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency