If the New People’s Army (NPA) persists and take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law will be justified.
“If NPA attacks persist and therefore rebellion continues in the midst of the pandemic, the President is obligated to declare ML (Martial Law),” said Sotto.
If the communist rebels take advantage of the prevailing crisis, Sotto pointed out no timing is necessary to impose the martial rule.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel IIII said Martial Law declaration is the President’s decision subject to substantive requirements of Section 18 under the Constitution.
The said provision provides that “the President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such Armed Force to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion.”
It also mandates that “in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, the President may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.”
“Then Congress reviews it also pursuant to the Constitution. That (ML declaration) is part of Presidential powers. The review is part of Congressional powers.”
However, Pimentel also believes that Martial Law declaration can be location specific./Stacy Ang