‘Philippines still in emergency’

MANILA: Even with the lifting of martial law in Mindanao, the entire Philippines remains under a “state of national emergency” because of the continuing threat of the communist rebels and terrorist groups, Malacanang Palace said.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation No.55 or the state of national emergency on September 2016, two days after the bombing of a night market in Davao City, which killed 14 people.

“The (state of national emergency) should remain imposed and strictly observed by the AFP and PNP to ensure the maintenance of law and order in all other parts of the country given that there remains the communist insurgency to reckon with, as well as there is yet a terrorist organisation resurrecting to be crushed, ” presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.

“The Office of the President asks the citizenry for their usual cooperation, even as we assure them that the government will not allow any abuse of their fundamental civil and political rights during this state of national emergency.”

Panelo said under Article 7, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution, the President, as the Commander-in-Chief, has “three extraordinary powers”, which is “to call out the armed forces, to place any part of the country under martial law and to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus”.

He said Proclamation No.55 was issued pursuant to the calling out power of the President.

The proclamation, he said, “commanded the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to undertake such measures to suppress any and all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao and to prevent the same from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the Philippines.”

“While this calling out power is contained in the same provision which sanctions the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the same is unique in that it can be used independently without the participation of Congress and its actual use cannot be subjected to judicial review unless constitutional boundaries are violated, ” he said.

“Therefore, as long as the President deems it necessary to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, or rebellion (such as at present times), he is lawfully authorised to resort to this calling out power.” — Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN

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