Con-com: In draft federal Charter, series of NPA attacks a ground for martial law
Under the proposed federal Charter, a series of attacks perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) would be considered a ground for the declaration of martial law.
This was the explanation of Ret. Lt. Gen. Ferdinand Bocobo, a member of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Consultative Committee (Con-com), as they bared the inclusion of “lawless violence” as a ground for declaring martial law.
Bocobo told the Inquirer in a phone interview that for NPA attacks to be considered “lawless violence”—which includes terrorism and extremism—the attacks have to cause “widespread and extraordinary fear.”
“For NPA attacks to fall under “terrorism” as [a] ground to declare martial law, these attacks should cause widespread and extraordinary fear & panic among [the] populace,” Bocobo told the Inquirer.
“Terrorism and violent extremism [are] composed of lawless violence. There [have] to be elements of terror and fear. Before the President declares (martial law), he has to consult with his commanders on the ground,” the retired general said in another press conference.
The ground was part of the Con-com’s proposed revision of Section 18 of Article VII of the 1987 Constitution, which states that the President may declare martial law only “in case of invasion or rebellion.”
Under Con-com’s proposal, the President, “in case of lawless violence, invasion or rebellion, when public safety requires it,” may suspend the privilege of habeas corpus and put any part of the country under military rule.
Meanwhile, in an earlier press conference, Bocobo explained that anti-administration protests would not constitute “lawless violence.”
“That’s part of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. That’s protected by the Constitution,” the Con-com member explained. /vvp
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