Guevarra says PH still under state of lawlessness

Published August 2, 2019, 3:50 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday (August 2) reminded that the country remains under a state of lawlessness.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra

Guevarra raised this point following reports that President Rodrigo Duterte was considering declaring martial law over Negros Oriental due to the spate of killings there.

Back in September 2016, the President issued Proclamation No. 55, which declared the country under a state of national emergency and commanded “the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to undertake such measures as may be permitted by the Constitution and existing laws to suppress any and all forms of lawless violence in Mindanao and to prevent such lawless violence from spreading and escalating elsewhere in the Philippines, with due regard to the fundamental civil and political rights of our citizens.”

“That proclamation has not been revoked,” the Secretary told reporters during a press conference.

Before Duterte declares martial law over Negros Oriental, Guevarra explained it must be found that there exist in the province “rebellion, or state of invasion and when public interest requires it.”

“Iyan ang mga requirements sa ating Constitution (That’s the requirement under the Constitution), if met, then the President will have the legal basis to declare martial law in Negros Oriental,” he explained.

“Otherwise, if there is no rebellion there, no invasion there, so the president can make use of the other proclamation declaring a state of emergency,” he added.

Duterte issued Procalamation No. 55 in response to the Sept. 2, 2016 bomb blast in Davao City where 14 people were killed and 67 others were injured.