COVID-19 an ‘invasion,’ may be ground for declaring martial law — Panelo | Inquirer News

COVID-19 an ‘invasion,’ may be ground for declaring martial law — Panelo

By: - Reporter / @KAguilarINQ
/ 06:52 PM May 04, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte would have been justified to declare martial law on the ground that coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has afflicted about 9,585 persons in the country as of Monday, may be considered an “invasion,” his former spokesperson, also concurrent chief presidential legal counsel, Salvador Panelo said.


Speaking over his television program on the state-run PTV network, Panelo noted that there is an “actual invasion of the coronavirus” that would have justified the President’s declaration of a martial law.

“It can mean the entry of a disease and transfer from one area to another. Tandaan po ninyo, ano bang meron ngayon? There is an actual invasion of the coronavirus disease which is pandemic. It threatens, in fact, the entire country and lahat ng kababayan natin,” Panelo said.


Panelo pointed out that the definition of “invasion” is no longer confined to other nations using armed forces to occupy a country.

“So may aktwal na invasion. And public safety is endangered. E hindi ba yun ang sinasabi ng Constitution? May rebellion or invasion, when public safety requires? (There is an actual invasion. And public safety is endangered. Isn’t that what the Constitution says? There is rebellion or invasion and when the public safety requires?)” he further said.

Under the Constitution, the President may only proclaim martial law in case of invasion and rebellion, when public safety requires it, according to the 1987 Constitution.

“Sa akin pong pananaw bilang abugado, lahat ng sitwasyon o kalakaran na maaaring parang rebelyon o invasion at ito’y nagbibigay ng panganib, malubhang panganib, imminent danger sa taumbayan, e pwede kang gumamit ng isang extraordinary power under the Constitution,” Panelo said.

(In my view as a lawyer, all situations that can be linked to rebellion or invasion and serve as imminent danger to the people, you can use that extraordinary power under the Constitution.)

He further recalled that Duterte had said that he would declare martial law to quell any instance of lawlessness upon his declaration of a state of calamity due to COVID-19 and the subsequent implementation of an enhanced community quarantine over Luzon and other provinces.

“‘Yun naman pong sinasabi niyang martial law, na paulit ulit sinasabi ni Presidente, na mula’t sapul, hindi siya magdedeklara ng batas militar. Hindi kailangan. Sinabi niya lamang po yun dahil sa mga natatanggap niyang report na maraming mga pasaway na mga rebeldeng komunista…. Supposed to be meron tayong problema kung saan hinihingi natin ang kooperasyon ng lahat ng taumbayan,” he said.


(What the President repeatedly says is that he will not declare martial law. It is not needed. He only said that because of the reports that there are stubborn communist rebels… Supposedly, there is a problem that requires the cooperation of everyone.)

When sought for reaction on Panelo’s remarks, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said: “No comment, but that’s not Palace position.”

As of Monday, there are 9,485 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 623 fatalities and 1,315 recoveries.

Panelo’s remarks came a week after the President threatened to declare martial law should lawlessness involving the communist rebels continue.

Malacañang, meanwhile, laughed off allegations that Duterte is using the COVID-19 pandemic to declare martial law.


For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

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TAGS: coronavirus Philippines, COVID-19, invasion, Martial law, Rodrigo Duterte, Salvador Panelo
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