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Pres. Duterte can declare martial law but can't stop SC, Congress review

MANILA, Jan. 16 (PNA) -- Senate Pres. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III on Monday said Pres. Rodrigo Duterte was right when he said that "no one -- even the Supreme Court or Congress" could stop him from declaring martial law in the country.

However, Pimentel also said the Supreme Court and Congress could not also be stopped from reviewing the declaration.

"…Even the Supreme Court can’t stop him (Pres. Duterte) from declaring but he cannot stop the review of the declaration. Legally speaking, everything he said is correct," Pimentel told reporters in an interview.

Pimentel assured that there was nothing to worry about Pres. Duterte's pronouncements as they were legally correct and found in the 1987 Constitution.

"Don’t worry, the statement that the President has his own power (to declare martial law) is found in the Constitution and all the other safeguards are found in the Constitution. Don't worry too much about that legally correct statement of the President," he added.

He also said that everything the President does should conform to the requirements of the Constitution but pointed out that the declaration of martial law has not even been done yet.

"It has not been done yet so we are really discussing a hypothetical situation and if the question is can the President declare martial law on his own and the answer is yes," the Senate President said.

Sen. Leila de Lima, in a separate interview, said that there would be no need for pronouncements of declaring martial law, especially if the country’s situation in terms of illegal drug trade is improving.

"If their campaign against illegal drugs is really successful and has improved our situation, why does the President keep floating the idea of imposing martial law?” De Lima said.

She said that the all-out-war against illegal drugs under the administration of Pres. Duterte should make it unnecessary for such declaration.

"Is our situation improving in terms of the drug crackdown or is it getting worse? Because if it is improving what is the necessity for martial law?" she 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 Constitution, however, safeguards the institution from a repeat of martial law regime. Martial law is limited in duration and effects, even if contemplated by a president.

Section 18 of Article VII of the current Constitution states that the President should submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress within 48 hours from the proclamation of martial law.

The Congress may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President.

Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may also extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion should persist and public safety requires it.

The Congress within 24 hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without any need of a call.

The Supreme Court may also review the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within 30 days from its filing. (PNA) JBP/ANP and Jake M. Castillo (OJT)

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No basis to declare martial law -- Recto

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Last post January 16, 2017, 05:16:49 PM
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