Legazpi City (Jan. 16, 2017) – “We cannot predict the authoritarian tendencies of the president.”
This was the response of opposition lawmaker Edcel Lagman of Albay when asked about the statements of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte about Martial Law.
The congressman said that the president is very inconsistent in his statements.
He pointed out that at first, Duterte announced that he does not need Martial Law.
Later, according to Lagman, the chief executive had a reversal when he said that nobody can stop him if he decided to declare Martial Law.
The Bicolano legislator described the Philippine president as a ‘menacing pendulum’ saying that the war on drugs cannot be a basis to declare military rule.
He emphasized that there is no provision in the Philippine Constitution justifying such declaration on the basis of the campaign against criminality.
With this, Lagman reminded the president that 74% of Filipinos are not in favour of the rebirth of Martial Law.
This is despite, according to him, the safeguards provided for in the 1987 Constitution.
On the other hand, Sec. Salvador Panelo was quick to defend the recent assertions of Pres. Duterte saying that it is the president’s constitutional duty to protect the welfare of the people and preserve the country.
The presidential legal counsel downplayed public apprehension saying that Martial Law was being considered only if the drug problem continues to worsen.
Otherwise, he said that there was nothing to worry about.
Panelo underlined that Duterte is not Marcos and if ever such a declaration is made, there are still conditions in the constitution that would protect the rights of the people. (J. Garalde)