Campaign vs idlers breaking the law ‘not a prelude’ to nationwide martial law declaration

Published June 19, 2018, 5:56 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Genalyn Kabiling

The government’s latest campaign against idlers breaking the law was “not a prelude” to the declaration of a nationwide martial law, Malacañang assured Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the President has no intention of expanding the martial law beyond Mindanao.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announces during a press conference at the Presidential Guest House in Panacan, Davao City on January 4, 2018 that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has decided to terminate the services of Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) Administrator Marcial Quirico Amaro III upon verifying complaints that the administrator has made excessive trips overseas. Amaro's termination from the service is part of the President's commitment to eliminate graft and corruption in government. JOEY DALUMPINES/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

“Malinaw po ang sinabi na ng Presidente, ‘Martial law in the entire Philippines will become very complicated.’ He has absolutely no intentions right now unless there would be reasons to do so,” Roque said during a press conference in Cotabato City.

President Duterte recently ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to get rid of people loitering in the streets to help keep peace and order in communities.

Duterte told the police to be “strict” and tell the loiterers to go home. “Part of confronting people who do not do nothing and just idling around, they are potential trouble for the public,” he said last week.

Roque made clear that the President’s comments about “tambays” were part of the government’s efforts to prevent crimes.

He said policemen were only apprehending persons violating city ordinances such drinking and gambling in public.

Roque also dispelled concerns of possible abuse, citing the “built-in guarantees” in the Constitution protecting civil liberties.

“Nariyan iyong ating Bill of Rights [The bill of rights is there],” he said.

“So kinakailangan kapag nag-aresto sampahan sila ng kaso at kung hindi sila sasampahan within the prescribed number of hours dapat palayain [So if a person is arrested, a case should be filed. And if there is no case within the prescribed number of hours, they should be released],” he said.