President Duterte’s declaration of ‘state of lawlessness’ is rooted in Constitution – Palace

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to declare a “state of lawlessness” nationwide, following the Davao City bombing that killed 14 people and wounded 71 others Friday, is constitutional and legal.

This was stressed by Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella in a statement issued Saturday.

Abella said the decision is rooted in Article VIII Section 18 of the Constitution which reads: “The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all Armed Forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such Armed Forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”

The Palace official said the declaration is limited, such that the Chief Executive can only call out the Armed Forces to suppress the lawless violence.

“It is a different case from the existence of invasion or rebellion. Only if there is invasion or rebellion, and when public safety requires it, can he suspend the writ of habeas corpus or declare martial law,” he explained.

Abella urged the public “to remain alert to the activities of those who wish to create chaos and prayerfully agree for peace to reign in the land”.

“It takes a courageous and united people who complain less and do more to build the nation we dream of and deserve,” he said. PNA/