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Blast forced Duterte’s hand

  • Written by Efren Montano
  • Published in Top Stories
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Featured Blast forced Duterte’s hand

Even before Davao City bombing the President was set to declare ‘state of lawlessness’ -- Panelo

EVEN prior to the deadly Davao City blast Friday night, Pesident Rodrigo Duterte was already set to declare a “state of lawlessness.”

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo however insisted that the “state of lawlessness” was not a precursor to martial law.

“Kung ang pangamba nila [critics] ay papunta ito sa martial law, hindi. Definitely hindi. Malaking hindi. Hindi rin ito tutungo sa pagsuspinde ng writ of habeas corpus. Malayong malayo tayo doon,” Panelo said.

He assured the people that they can still perform their normal activities while being alert.
   
“We can do our normal things every day. Ang kaibahan lang, magiging alerto tayo kasi maraming banta sa atin. Kung tayo ay nasa public places, kailangan maging observant tayo sa kapaligiran natin.”
   
Panelo said the Davao blast was not the trigger to the President’s declaration, which was already in the planning stage before the incident that left more than a dozen dead and over 60 wounded.
   
“Hindi ‘yan nag-trigger. Actually, nasa planning stage na ‘yan [declaration], in fact, nagda-draft na nga kami ng proclamation eh,” Panelo said.
   
Panelo also said that he and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea had prepared separate drafts for the planned executive order on the state of lawlessness, which was supposed to be released either yesterday, September 4, or today, September 5.
   
Panelo cited four conditions the country is experiencing that prompted Duterte to think of issuing an executive order on lawlessness.
   
These include: the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality, terrorism, and the offensive against the Abu Sayyaf Group.
   
Panelo claimed that illegal drugs have affected 98 percent of the total number of barangays in the country, and that suspected drug users and pushers could be “potential killers.”
   
“Hindi kasi naniniwala si President Duterte na kung user ka hindi ka pusher. ‘Pag user ka kasi kailangan mo ng gamot. Kung ikaw naman ay hindi mayaman, kailangan ka mag-push para makabili. Yung mahihirap ang nagiging daan para sa pag-push kasi wala ngang pera pambili. Ganoon kalawak ngayon ang problema kasi these are potential killers,” he said.
   
Likewise, Panelo said crimes continue despite reports that the crime rate has been declining.
   
On the other hand, he said acts of terrorism, including those done by the Abu Sayyaf Group, are not just simple criminal activities because these are aimed at sowing fear around the country.
   
“Yung terorismo isa lang ang pakay niyan, [takutin] ang bayan, maghasik ng lagim at gulo. Malawak din ‘yan,” Panelo said.
   
The Palace official said that these social conditions swayed Duterte to order the Armed Forces to assist the Philippine National Police in its security operations.
   
“Tinitingnan ni presidente ang lawak ng problema. Kung kaya pang gawin ng without that ay gagawin ... pero noong nagkaroon pa ng bombahan, talagang kailangan na idekalra dahil kailangan na masawata [ang karahasan],” Panelo said.
   
He said that the PNP already needed help from the military.
   
“Hindi na kakayanin lang ng PNP. Kailangan gagawa na tayo ng hakbang na medyo magiging strikto ... sa pagliligtas ng mga kababayan natin.”