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State of lawlessness legal, says Aguirre

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said yesterday that President Duterte’s declaration of a state of lawlessness is legal and constitutional.

“The power of the President to declare a state of lawlessness is legally justified under his constitutional authority to faithfully execute the laws, protect the people from lawless and criminal elements, not to mention the rampant killings, and the ISIS threat to commit terrorism,” Aguirre said.

“It is not Martial Law because the military is not being called to replace civilian authority. Civil liberties are not impaired. In other words, it is just a declaration of a state or condition of lawlessness, nothing more,” he said.

Aguirre noted that the state of lawlessness can be validated by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and the Philippine National Police, given the rampant killings, terrorist acts, the entry of Islamic State elements, and the seizure of smuggled M16 rifle parts.

He said that because of this declaration, the military and the police can legally set up checkpoints.

Duterte declared a nationwide state of lawlessness following Friday night’s bomb attack in Davao City.
(PNA and Jeffrey G. Damicog)