Lagman airs fears over duration of Duterte proclamation | Inquirer News

Lagman airs fears over duration of Duterte proclamation

/ 01:18 PM September 06, 2016
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO/RYAN LEAGOGO

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO/RYAN LEAGOGO

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Tuesday warned that President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of national emergency on account of lawless violence hangs like a Damocles sword over the citizens’ head.

 

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READ: So it’s now state of nat’l emergency in effect 

During a press briefing of the “legitimate” minority bloc at the House of Representatives, Lagman read out his copy of the declaration and noted that there is no period within which the declaration would be in effect.

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“This proclamation of a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence shall remain in force and effect until lifted or withdrawn by the President,” Proclamation Order No. 55 read.

“‘Until lifted or withdrawn by the President’ – there is no period. This could be as long as the discretion of the President would allow him,” Lagman said.

Lagman expressed fears that without any given period, the president may use this declaration perpetually throughout his six-year term.

“Without any limited period, this would be a sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the people in perpetuity,” he added.

Lagman said though the proclamation stated the President would respect fundamental and political rights of the citizens, this provision had been violated in the past, citing the 2006 declaration of national emergency of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that led to warrantless arrests of critics.

“The wording of the declaration may be compliant with the Constitution, but it’s implementation may be errant,” Lagman said.

Duterte signed the proclamation on Monday before he flew to Laos for the Asean summit, following the blast in Davao City’s Roxas Boulevard night market that claimed 14 lives.

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READ: Bloody Friday in Davao | What is state of lawless violence?

 

In declaring the state of lawlesness, Duterte called on the military to help the police in running the country and protect the citizenry due to the suspected involvement of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group in the blast. He also cited the drug situation and the spate of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects unfairly attributed to the police.

Duterte clarified that he was not declaring martial law and was not suspending the writ of habeus corpus.

According to Section 18 of Article VII of the Constitution that explains the powers of the executive, the President as commander-in-chief of all armed forces may call out if necessary “such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”

When Arroyo declared a state of national emergency in 2006, police arrested Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran and Bayan Muna Representative Josel Virador.  Newspaper columnist and UP Professor Randy David and then Akbayan president Ronald Llamas were arrested after a dispersal of a rally. Anakpawis Representatives Satur Ocampo and Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casino and Gabriela Representative Liza Maza evaded arrest.  Police also raided the opposition papers Daily Tribune, Malaya, and Abante.

The Supreme Court later ruled as unconstitutional the warrantless arrests and raid of media outlets./rga

READ: States of rebellion, emergency under Arroyo administration

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TAGS: Edcel Lagman, News, Proclamation 55, Rodrigo Duterte, state of emergency, state of lawless violence, State of Lawlessness
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