No martial law scenario during ECQ, says Sotto

Published April 20, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Monday maintained that the possible takeover of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) by military personnel does not equate to martial law.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III (PRIB Photo by Henz Austria/11 November 2019)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III
(PRIB Photo by Henz Austria/11 November 2019)

The Senate leader insisted that the reported orders for possible military takeover were only meant to improve law enforcement during the national health emergency.

“Whatever it is, it is not martial law. It’s a type of enforcement for the hard headed ones,” Sotto said in a text message.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Sunday said he has instructed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to deploy more troops for the remaining days of the ECQ to help police in enforcing the social distancing and lockdown measures amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

The order came after President Duterte threated a “martial law-like” police and military takeover of the ECQ due to quarantine violations and increased volume of people and vehicles in markets and major roads.

“If the use of the AFP is necessary to keep people off the streets then so be it. It does not necessarily mean there is martial law unless it is declared. Keeping us safe is primordial,” Sotto said.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the President, as the commander-in-chief of the AFP, may declare martial law “to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”