Nope, Duterte doesn’t share Panelo’s view of COVID-19 as ‘invasion’ — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte does not share the view of his chief presidential legal counsel and former spokesperson Salvador Panelo that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic can be considered as “invasion,” that would warrant a declaration of martial law.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made this point Tuesday, reiterating the Palace position that the President will only declare martial law should lawlessness involving the communist rebels persist.
Panelo on Monday said the COVID-19 pandemic is an “invasion” and may be a ground to declare martial law since it threatens public safety.
“Sabi ng Presidente, hindi siya magaatubili magdeklara ng martial law sang-ayon po sa basehan na nakasaad sa ating Saligang Batas at yan po ay rebelyon ng NPA [New People’s Army], lalong lalo na kung patuloy nilang aatakihin ang ating sundalo para nakawin yung mga ayuda nanakalaan sa ating mga kababayan,” Roque said in an online press conference.
(The President said he will not hesitate to declare martial law in agreement to what the Constitution states which is rebellion, especially if the NPA will continue to attack our soldiers to steal aid intended for our countrymen.)
“I think that is the presidential proclamation on this issue, hindi lang po ako ang nagsalita niyan, ang Presidente na po ang nagsalita niyan. Ibig sabihin po, magkaiba po sila ng posisyon ni Secretary Panelo,” he added.
(I think that is the presidential proclamation on this issue and that did not only come from me but from the President himself. This means he has a differing position with Secretary Panelo.)
While Panelo is entitled to his personal view, Roque noted that only the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson is authorized to speak on behalf of the President and the Executive Branch.
“I think that is the personal view of Secretary Panelo. There is a memo that designates the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson as the only authorized office to speak on behalf of the President and on behalf of the Executive Branch of government. We cannot, of course, deprive Secretary Panelo of his freedom of speech,” Roque said.
Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra has pointed out that in the context of declaring martial law, “invasion” refers to “invasion of a country by foreign armed forces.”
When asked if Roque agrees to Guevarra’s position, he said: “In legal parlance, I concur with the view of Secretary Guevarra.”
Under the 1987 Constitution, the President may only proclaim martial law in case of invasion and rebellion when the public safety requires it.
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