Duterte can use calling out power to deploy military for strict ECQ - Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte can use one of his extraordinary powers, specifically the calling out power, for the deployment of military forces to help in the strict enforcement of the enhanced communtiy quarantine, his spokesman said on Monday.
In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte could come out with the necessary issuance in exercising his calling out power.
Citing the provisions of the Constitution, the President has three extraordinary powers depending on "how intrusive and how draconian it is," he said. These include the calling out power, the suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus, and the declaration of martial law.
"The warning of the President is he will not hesitate to call upon the military to enforce the ECQ. That's the calling out power. If he so decides, he will issue the necessary corresponding executive issuance," he said.
In his latest televised public message last week, Duterte threatened to order the military and the police to enforce a "martial law-like" lockdown if the number of COVID-19 cases continue to increase due to some hard-headed individuals who defy the order to remain at home.
Roque said Duterte is expected to decide within the week on what could happen after April 30, the last day of the extended Luzon-wide ECQ.
"Since only 10 days are left and the ECQ will end, the President has to decide this week because whatever will be his decision, there is a need to prepare for the implementation," he said.
Duterte is meeting in Malacanang on Monday experts, such as former Health secretaries, epidemiologists and virologists, to help him decide on the next actions to be taken.
"So, we expect that the consultation with the experts and the recommendation of the IATF (inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) will be made this week," Roque added.
He admitted it is difficult for Duterte to balance between the possible number of people who could die if the ECQ would be lifted and the people who would get hungry if the lockdown continues.
"I don't envy the President for having to make this decision, but we are hoping and praying that the right decision will be made," he said, adding that whatever decision to be made, it would be "guided by science." Celerina Monte/DMS