Martial law safeguards are questionable under present gov’t—Rep. Lagman
An associate justice of the Supreme Court said there is nothing reprehensible with the power of martial law under the Constitution, which a lawmaker immediately countered saying it is the President who they do not trust to follow and respect the law and the Constitution.
“There is nothing reprehensible with the power of martial law under the Constitution,” Associate Justice Noel Tijam said during the second day of the oral arguments on Wednesday at the Supreme Court.
Tijam asked one of the petitioners, Albay Representative Edcel Lagman: “Do you trust this President to use the powers under the Constitution to declare martial law, to do it fairly, reasonably and legally?”
“Unfortunately, I do not,” said Lagman.
The lawmaker explained that while the proclamation of martial law is acknowledged by the 1987 Constitution and provided safeguards in implementing it, but “those safeguards will only be good in the hands of the President which respects the law and the Constitution.”
“Is it possible that one of the motivations in filing this petition was because of the fear that this President might abuse the powers of martial law?” Justice Tijam asked.
Lagman answered in the affirmative citing the extra judicial killings in the government’s war on drugs and President Rodrigo Duterte’s statements including the rape joke he mentioned while speaking before members of the military in Mindanao.
Lagman insisted that martial law should only be the last resort in curbing violence in the country.
“If we read the Constitution, the action, the response of the President would be calibrated: call the Armed Forces of the Philippines to subdue lawless violence, invasion and rebellion, if it fails, next is suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,” Lagman said pointing that if the two measures failed, only then can the President declare martial law. JPV
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