MANILA, Sept 5 (Mabuhay) — The state of lawless violence declared by President Rodrigo Duterte could be raised before the Supreme Court if only to allay the fears of the people, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero said on Monday.
Escudero explained that unlike martial law, the President can declare a state of lawless violence even without the approval of Congress.
“Ang epekto lamang naman nito (state of lawless violence) ay pwede nyang gamitin ang Armed Forces of the Philippines para i-suppress ito. Sa totoo lang ginagamit na naman nya sa Sulu laban sa Abu Sayaff at sa mahabang panahon, ginagamit na yan ng mga nauna na ring presidente. Armed Forces mismo ang nagpapatupad na ng peace and order operations ng ating bansa at hindi ang Philippine National Police. That’s all that it means,” he told reporters.
(The effect of state of lawles violence means he could use the Armed Forces of the Philippines to suppress violence. In fact, he has been using it in Sulu to fight the Abu Sayaff and for a long time, previous presidents have been using it. The Armed Forces implemented the peace and order operations in the country and not the Philippine National Police. That’s all that it means)
“Walang epekto ito sa civil liberties. Walang epekto ito sa mga karapatan natin sa ilalim ng Bill of Rights. Walang epekto sa normal na buhay dapat ng ating mga kababayan maliban gaya ng sabi ko sa paggamit at presensya ng mga kasundaluhan marahil sa mga cities, sa mga senator bilang pagtupad ng panawagan ng Pangulo na gamitin sila para puksain ito,” he added.
(It has no effect on civil liberties. It has no effect on our rights under Bill of Rights. It has no effect on the daily lives of our countrymen except for using the presence of soldiers perhaps in the cities and for senators to respond to the President’s call to use them to address the violence.)
Duterte placed the country under a state of lawless violence following a deadly bombing in Davao City last Friday that killed 14 people.
But if there are still questions about the President’s declaration, then Escudero said the issue could be brought to the high tribunal.
“Only the court can reverse or modify it so kung may nagkwe-question, pwede silang dumulog sa Korte Suprema para question-in yung declaration na yun (if there are those who question, they could bring it before the Supreme Court to question the said declaration),” he said.
“Sa katunayan, ito nga lang yata ang unang pagkakataon na dineklara yan. Wala pa yatang jurisprudence na nagsasabing pwede bang verbal yan, kelangan bang may presidential proclamation talaga yan, kailangan ba may administrative order to implement it. Wala pang ganung jurisprudence sa bagay na yun.”
(In fact, perhaps it’s the first time it has been declared. I think there is no jurisprudence stating that it could be verbal, have a presidential proclamation, have administrative order to implement it. There is no jurisprudence on the matter.)
Escudero said a petitioner could not only ask about the procedures of such declaration but what it also meant “so it does not create any panic on the part of our people.”
Asked if the declaration of a state of lawless violence could be a prelude to martial law, the senator said: “I don’t think so and if at all, even martial law is toothless under the Constitution.”
He pointed out that even with the declaration of martial law, the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is not suspended and Congress is not abolished.
“In fact, Congress has the power to either affirm or reverse any such declaration,” Escudero added.(MNS)