SENATOR Risa Hontiveros expressed deep concern on the declaration of state of lawlessness by President Duterte.
Even as she expressed common grief with the families of the victims of the Davao blast, Hontiveros stressed that the President’s declaration should be merely an act declaring a status or condition of public moment or interest.
“A declaration allowed under Section 4 Chapter 2, Book II of the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, which provides: SEC. 4. Proclamations. Acts of the President fixing a date or declaring a status or condition of public moment or interest, upon the existence of which the operation of a specific law or regulation is made to depend, shall be promulgated in proclamations that shall have the force of an executive order,” noted Hontiveros.
On the other hand, Senate Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon urged the Chief Executive to be prudent in his declaration,
“The President, however, must be prudent in such declaration because of its effect on our economy, investment and business climate, especially our tourism. Under our Constitution, a declaration of lawless violence has no implication on civil liberties,” he said.
Drilon also sees the incident as an isolated case but defers to the judgment of the President who has access to intelligence information.
“There is need, however, for the Palace to clarify its parameters to allay the fears of our people,” Drilon added.
Hontiveros noted that the “Calling Out Powers” of the President under Sec 18, Article VII should be limited in scope. The President shall only deploy the Armed Forces to suppress the identified acts of violence, which serve as factual basis for the Calling-Out Power.
“It cannot give the military and the police extra powers. They still cannot conduct arrests, searches and seizures without judicial warrants. Contrary to the President’s instructions, they cannot, in anyway and in any legal and constitutional sense, run the country,” Hontiveros added.
The lady senator cautioned the President to be aware of his actions that may contribute to an environment of fear and violence.
“I worry that the President might play to the script of the perpetrators of the violence. I urge the Duterte government to continue to operate within the bounds of the law and respect the civil liberties of the people,” she said.