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No need for military rule: Enforcing ECQ is ‘de facto’ martial law, says Garbin

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House committee on justice vice chair Alfredo Garbin has shrugged off President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement over a possible declaration of martial law if communist insurgents continue with their offensive against government forces amid the upcoming second extension of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in various parts of the country.

In his pre-recorded public address aired on Friday morning, Duterte told communist guerrillas and their supposed front organizations to go into hiding if ever a martial law is declared after two soldiers who were assisting in the distribution of cash assistance under the government’s social amelioration program were killed by the New People’s Army (NPA).

Garbin, vice-chair of the House committee on justice, stressed that there is no need for the President to resort in declaring martial law “as the effect of Luzon Wide Total lockdown has the force and effect of a de facto Martial Law.”

“Police and military hand in hand are manning check points and Enforcing ECQ. There is a 24hrs curfew with exceptions on those doing essential. Liberty of travel and abode is suppress and the right to peaceably assemble is wanting, said Garbin.

Garbin added that the President is also authorized to take over private property of which he deems proper and necessary in order to meet the needs of this public health emergency.

According to Garbin, the existence of lawless violence justifies the exercise of the President’s power to call out troops to assist the police force in preventing and suppressing lawless violence, to promote peace and order among the civilian public—such power has been nicknamed as the “calling out power.”

He noted that Under Section 18, Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution, “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.

Garbin warned that “declaring martial law is too cumbersome.”

The lawmaker explained that when the President judges that it is necessary to impose Martial Law or suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, his judgment “is subject to review by the Supreme Court and subject to concurrence by Congress.”

But when Duterte exercises this lesser power of calling on the military, when he says it is necessary, “his judgment cannot be reviewed by anybody,” according to the lawmaker from Ako Bicol Party-list.

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