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No basis to declare martial law -- Recto
« on: January 16, 2017, 05:16:49 PM »
No basis to declare martial law -- Recto

MANILA, Jan. 16 (PNA) -- Amid pronouncements of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte that no one could stop him from declaring martial law, Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto on Monday said that there was “no basis” to do so.

“There is no basis to declare martial law. Rebellion has been tamed. No foreign army is steaming towards our shores to invade us,” Recto said in a statement.

“The problems we face today do not require the calling in of the army. We do not burn the house down to kill a few rats,” he added.

He said that at present, the biggest problems the country needs to face are joblessness, hunger, poor social services, which he said could not be suppressed by the armed forces.

Recto explained that there was no need to declare martial law because it would only show the international community how “unstable” the Philippines is.

“At a time when we project stability to reel in tourists and investors, a martial law declaration will show the opposite, of how unstable we are,” he further said.

Pres. Duterte on Saturday said that no one -- including the Supreme Court and Congress -- could stop him from declaring martial law if that is the only way to “preserve” the country.

Recto, however, said that the President’s assertion that the declaration of martial law is a unilateral act of the chief executive has “no legal leg to stand on.”

“The Constitution, which the President had sworn to uphold in his oath of office, empowers Congress to revoke it, to cite one of many safeguards,” Recto said.

“It is also subject to Supreme Court review, and if to last more than 60 days, to congressional concurrence,” he added.

The senator, meanwhile, said that the country should know by now that the President’s pronouncement is only part of his “oratorical repertoire.”

“This thing about martial law should be filed under outlandish threats like riding a Jetski to the Spratlys, or feeding the fish of Manila Bay with bodies of salvage victims,” he added.

Under the martial law regime in the Philippines, which was imposed by the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos in Sept. 21, 1972, several human rights abuses including torture and killing were cited in various reports.

The 1987 Constitution safeguards the institution from a repeat of martial law regime. Martial law is limited in duration and effects, even if contemplated by a president.

Meanwhile, Sen. Pres. Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, for his part, urged the administration under Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to be more prudent in making public statements particularly on declaring lartial law.

"We call on the administration to exercise prudence in making public statements that are very disturbing and could create undue fear and tension in the country," Drilon said.

The senator stressed that the 1987 Constitution only allows the declaration of martial law, upon the concurrence of two requisites -- when there is actual invasion or rebellion and when public safety requires it.

"The truth is, mere talk of martial law is enough to send chills to the spine of any Filipino. Therefore, it is something that should not be taken lightly," he added.(PNA)

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