By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has not yet issued a formal order deploying the military to strictly enforce the enhanced community quarantine regulations during the national health emergency, Malacañang said Monday.
The President has the “extraordinary power” to call out the military to assist the police but has yet to exercise such authority, according to his Spokesperson Harry Roque.
“When ordered by the President, of course the military will have to comply at ‘yung kumalat naman na impormasyon na naghahanda daw ang Armed Forces, natural dahil nabanggit ni Presidente maghahanda sila (the information that Armed Forces is preparing, of course it’s natural to prepare because the President already mentioned it),” he said during a Palace press briefing Monday.
“Pero (But) the President has not actually exercised this extraordinary power of calling upon the military for this purpose,” he said.
The President recently warned about a possible military takeover on the implementation of the quarantine measures in Luzon if people will continue to defy or violate the stay-at-home policy.
Dismayed by the rising number of quarantine violators, Duterte claimed that his order would be similar to the declaration of martial law. He told the military and police “to be ready” to strictly enforce the social distancing and curfew measures.
Roque however clarified that the President’s pronouncement on the possible deployment of the military is not a “martial law-like” measure.
“Ang banta ni Presidente (The President threatened that) he will not hesitate to call upon the military to enforce the ECQ. That’s the calling out power. If he so decides, he will issue the necessary and corresponding executive issuance,” he said.
“‘Yan ang kapangyarihan ng Presidente. Hindi ‘yan martial law (That’s part of the President’s power. That’s not martial law),” he added.