08 Sep State of National Emergency Declaration and the Reasons Behind it
On September 4, Sunday, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Proclamation No. 55, a two-page declaration of a “State of National Emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao” following the verbal declaration early Saturday morning, a “lockdown” then a “State of Lawlessness” due to the explosion that killed 14, and injured 60 others at the Roxas night market in Davao City.
The Proclamation was signed before the President flew for the ASEAN Summits in Vientiane, Laos. And on Tuesday, the document was disclosed to the public.
Stated on the Proclamation, “It commands the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to undertake measures permitted by the Constitution and existing laws to, number one, suppress all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao and number two, prevent lawless violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere with due regard to fundamental and civil political rights of our citizens.”
The President as the Commander-in-Chief has the power to call out the armed forces whenever it becomes necessary to prevent lawless violence as cited in Section 18, Article of the Constitution.
There are six reasons listed on the Proclamation following the declaration.
One reason, Proclamation 55 specified Mindanao’s “long and complex history of lawless violence perpetrated by private armies and local warlords, bandits and criminal syndicates, terrorist groups, and religious extremists;” and a series of violent and lawless acts across the areas in Mindanao in the past few months, “including abductions, hostage-taking and murder of innocent civilians, bombing of power transmission facilities, highway robberies and extortions, attacks on military outposts, assassinations (of) media people and mass jailbreaks.”
It also recognized the “gallant efforts” of the government forces “to end this armed lawlessness have been met with stiff resistance,” caused to various fatalities on the part of the police and armed forces, where the most recent were the death of 15 soldiers in Patikul, Sulu last August 30.
The fourth reason was the terror attack last September 2, 2016, Friday at the Roxas Street night market in Davao City.
In the Proclamation, it said the acts of violence mentioned “exhibit the audacity and propensity of these armed lawless groups to defy the rule of law, sow anarchy, and sabotage the government’s economic development and peace efforts;” and according to intelligence reports, “there exist credible threats of further terror attacks and other parts of the country, including the metropolitan areas.”
Proclamation 55 stated that it shall remain effective “until lifted or withdrawn by the President.”
Davao Explosion did not trigger the Declaration
Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said in a media interview in Manila that even before the Davao explosion last September 2 happened, Duterte already planned to declare a “state of lawlessness.”
Panelo stated, “Hindi ‘yan nag-trigger. Actually, nasa planning stage na ‘yan (declaration). In fact, nagda-draft na nga kami ng proclamation eh.”
The planned executive order on the state of lawlessness drafted by him and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea supposed to be issued on September 4 or 5, Panelo added.
Four reasons behind President Duterte’s Planned Declaration, Panelo quoted: the government’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality, terrorism, and the offensive against the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Panelo stated the four reasons behind the declaration of the state of lawlessness, “We have a drug menace, which is all over the country. Ninety-eight (percent of the) barangays have been infiltrated, and there have been extrajudicial killings related to drugs. Number two, criminality is still ongoing. Number 3, there is terrorism. And number 4, the Abu Sayyaf problem. Because of all these, the President decided to apply the provisions of the Constitution, which states that when necessary, the President may call the armed forces to suppress and prevent lawless violence.”