State of lawlessness Justified: Lawyers say

Several local Lawyers, who are also active in politics, are one in the belief that there is nothing to fear that the declaration of state of lawlessness throughout the Philippines may curtail civil liberties reminiscent to the infamous martial law period.

The declaration by President Rodrigo Duterte was in response to the bomb attack of the night market in Davao City. However, some expressed anxiety that the declaration would be one step closer to the subsequent imposition of martial law.

Such fear was also boosted when Senator Richard Gordon reportedly proposed the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, thereby allowing authorities to detain any suspect for prolonged period.

However, Amlan Vice-Mayor Bentham Dela Cruz, President of the Vice-Mayors League, said that the declaration was only meant to justify the active involvement of the military in actively suppressing acts of violence in tandem with the Philippine National Police.

This was confirmed by 1st Lt. Eidherf S. Cruz of the 7th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, which sent a platoon of soldiers to boost security of the Capital city of Dumaguete following the President’s declaration.

Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe “Ipe” Remollo said that the declaration was no big deal and could not adversely impact the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution.

Councilor Manny Arbon also posited that “as of the moment there is no need to be alarmed since the rights have not been suspended or removed.”

Nevertheless, he cautioned the people to “consistently obey the law and avoid doing illegal things so as not to unnecessarily invite suspicion and interest of the police.” Dela Cruz believes that unlike in the past, it is highly difficult for the President to unilaterally declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus which compels the government to produce the living body of an arrested person since this is enshrined in the constitution. (By Dems Demecillo)

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