Palace reminds Mindanao residents national emergency still effective
Malacañang reminded on Friday the public, especially the residents in Mindanao, that the national emergency is still in effect despite the expiration of martial law in southern Philippines.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that Proclamation No. 55 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte last Sept. 4, 2016, which declares a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence, is still existing.
He explained that Proclamation No. 55 was issued pursuant to the calling out power of the President under Section 18, Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution.
The constitutional provision bestows upon the President, as the Commander-in-Chief, three extraordinary powers in connection with such designation, namely, to call out the armed forces, to place any part of the country under martial law, and to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel, said the calling out power "commanded the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to undertake such measures to suppress any and all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao and to prevent the same from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the Philippines."
While this calling out power is contained in the same provision which sanctions imposition of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, Panelo explained that the same is unique in that it can be used independently without the participation of Congress and its actual use cannot be subjected to judicial review unless constitutional boundaries are violated.
"Therefore, as long as the President deems it necessary to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, or rebellion (such as at present times), then he is lawfully authorized to resort to this calling out power," he said.
The official said the two other extraordinary powers - martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus - involve curtailment and suppression of civil rights and individual freedoms and they entail more stringent safeguards as they may be exercised only when there is actual invasion or rebellion, and public safety requires it.
As compared to previous constitutions, the 1987 Constitution has imposed the following limitations in declaring the same, as ascertained by the Supreme Court: an original period of 60 days; a review and a possible revocation by Congress; and a review and a possible nullification by the high tribunal, he added.
Panelo said the declaration of national emergency is still needed due to the continuous problem with the insurgency groups.
"While jurisprudence defines the power currently being utilized by the President through Proclamation No. 55 as the most benign among the three extraordinary powers, the same should remain imposed and strictly observed by the AFP and PNP to ensure the maintenance of law and order in all other parts of the country given that there remains the communist insurgency to reckon with, as well as there is yet a terrorist organization resurrecting to be crushed," he said.
He said the Office of the President asks the citizenry for their usual cooperation, even as the governnent assured them that it will not allow any abuse of their fundamental civil and political rights during state of national emergency.
Martial law in Mindanao expired on December 31 since it was declared in May 2017 due to Marawi siege. Celerina Monte/DMS