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State of Lawless Violence covers entire country

MANILA, September 3 -- President Rodrigo Duterte in the early morning of Saturday has declared a state of lawless violence in the country following an explosion at the night market in Davao late Friday night that led to the death and injury of scores of innocent civilians but asked that Filipinos cooperate despite the inconvenience.

The President announced the declaration when he visited the blast site in the early morning of Saturday. It was declared not only because of the bomb explosion but the crisis involving the illegal drugs and the war on criminality.

Presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said “first, it’s not martial law. Second, it is not a suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. Kaya nagdeklara ng state of lawlessness, ay maraming pangyayari dito sa ating bayan.”

He said that the President was prompted to declare because of the following reasons: “One, we have the drug menace, which covers the entire country. Ninety eight percent of the barangays have been infiltrated by drug dealers – and by drug dealers, I mean drug users, drug pushers, drug lords. Pangalawa, mayroon tayong kriminalidad na nagaganap po doon sa buong bansa natin. Lahat ng klaseng crime: may private crimes, may public crimes. Number three, mayroon tayong terorismo, at iyan iyong ginagawa nila ngayon sa Davao, na ang intention, to create fear and panic among the population. And number four, iyong rebelyon at iyong mga ginagawa ng Abu Sayyaf.”

The declaration, he said was aimed at protecting the country “mapangalagaan natin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan, ginagamit ngayon ng Pangulo ang lahat ng sandatahang lakas dito sa ating bansa upang ma-suppress o ma-prevent, o masugpo o mahinto ang kalakaran na hindi sumusunod sa batas.”

In a Palace statement, Abella clarified that the president's declaration of a state of lawlessness was rooted in Article VII Section 18 of the Constitution.

Under Section 18 of said provision, it states that “the President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all Armed Forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion."

He also clarified that the declaration does not involve the suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus, it is not in any way likened to martial law.

With the declaration, the residents will be inconvenienced but palace officials are asking for the everyone’s cooperation and unity.

“Magkakaroon lang ng mga inconvenience like for instance, kung dating walang checkpoint, maglalagay tayo ng checkpoint. Oh ‘di siyempre medyo hihinto ka, iche-check ka, may inconvenience ka. Pero kailangan iyon sapagka’t malawak nga ang problema natin, hindi mo alam kung iyong nakasakay diyan eh mga terorista o kaya mga drug lords ‘di ba, mga pushers,” Panelo said. (PNA)

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