OFFICE OF REP. HARRY L. ROQUE
03 SEPTEMBER 2016
REFERENCE: REP. HARRY L. ROQUE
STATEMENT OF REP. HARRY L. ROQUE ON THE PRESIDENT DUTERTE’S DECLARATION OF STATE OF LAWLESS VIOLENCE
Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a state of lawless violence in the wake of the blast in Davao City that claimed the lives of at least 15 people and left more than 60 others injured, we must see to it that civil liberties continue to be protected even when the President has exercised his calling out power.
To clarify, the President’s declaration of a state of lawless violence is not a declaration of Martial Law, but rather merely an exercise of his calling out power. As ruled by the Supreme Court in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines vs Zamora (G.R. No. 141284. August 15, 2000), 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,” with the implication that the President is given full discretion and wide latitude in the exercise of this power.
However, such declaration by the President should not lead to the suppression of civil liberties, even though there is a tendency for the government to do so as evidenced by the arrest of Prof. Randy David in February 24, 2006 following President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s issuance of Presidential Proclamation 1017 as implemented by General Order No. 5 declaring a state of national emergency.