PUWERSA ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) party-list Rep. Jericho “Koko” Nograles on Wednesday said President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte has the prerogative to declare a state of Martial Law in Sulu.
Nograles said the declaration of a state of Martial Law in a specific region is nothing new because it has been done before within the constitutional framework.
However, Nogarales said this act must have the concurrence of Congress which has the duty to affirm, modify, or reject Presidential action.
Nograles said this should be only used as last resort and there is no other means of quelling “imminent or existing widespread violence.”
While the terrorist threat in the province of Jolo is really serious and must be addressed right away, Nograles said the rest of Mindanao is relatively peaceful.
“The Constitution is clear that the declaration of a state of martial law is a Presidential prerogative. Our constitution is designed to leave the declaration of martial law to civilians by, first, giving the President the prerogative and, second, for the Congress to uphold or overturn that decision. It is not surprising that the military would perceive martial law, a military solution, to address a challenge,” Nograles said.
“Martial law under civilian rule is necessary only when the justice system can not operate properly or cannot protect the people any longer. This collapse is usually brought about by imminent or existing widespread violence or danger to life, liberty, or property. Until such time is proven, martial law would be premature. If the military thinks it is necessary now, then they should show proof, first, to the President and, subsequently, to Congress when such a declaration is made,” Nograles added.