PNP: Duterte can use ‘any of his powers’ to address Negros killings
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has the prerogative to use “any of his powers” provided by law to address the spate of killings in Negros Oriental, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday, amid talks of possible martial law declaration in the province.
“Under the executive department, the President has a wide range of options including the use of emergency powers in so far as maintenance of peace and order is concerned. It is the prerogative of the President to use any of his powers provided by law,” PNP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac said in a statement.
Banac said the PNP is closely monitoring the peace and order situation in Negros Oriental, where 21 people have been killed in just 10 days – from July 18 to 28. Based on police records, July 25 was the bloodiest since seven people were killed in the province on that day alone.
“But for the moment, the situation there is under control and all PNP units there remain on full alert and vigilant to thwart and prevent the occurrence of crimes and killings,” he said.
If so, why the need to declare martial law in Negros Oriental?
Banac argued, “(W)e can never foretell what may happen next.”
“So if the President deems it necessary, he may use emergency powers as provided for by law,” he said.
As some groups have aired their concerns that the government might only be setting the stage to declare martial law nationwide through the series of slayings in Negros Oriental, Duterte vowed to do “something drastic” to address the continuing violence in the country. He also said the move he’s been pondering on would “not sit well with everybody.”
Before this pronouncement, Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Duterte might declare martial law in Negros Oriental in the wake of the murders there.
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