MANILA - There is no need to declare a state of martial law in areas stricken by super typhoon Yolanda and the situation does not fall under what the Constitution provides, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Monday.
In a text message to reporters, De Lima clarified that there may only be two instances where martial law may be declared.
"Under the Constitution, martial law is confined to only 2 cases or situations - invasion or rebellion. I don't think either situation currently exists," De Lima said.
The justice chief pointed out that Malacanan has enough powers to address the situation in Leyte and nearby areas hit by the super typhoon, described as the worst, thus far, this year.
"I believe that there are enough powers allotted by the Constitution and the laws to the national government, specifically, the President, in addressing the situation in the Yolanda-devastated areas, including breakdown of law and order or lawless violence and the like.'
"What is needed, more than martial law or 'kamay na bakal,' is a humanitarian attitude and people that the victims can talk to or, at least people that they can look to for reassurance that aid is coming. More warm bodies from national authorities should be deployed to the affected areas," she stressed.
Due to scarcity of food and basic necessities, survivors have looted several establishments, some of them taking non-essential items, leading some quarters to suggest the need for the declaration of martial law for the restoration of peace and order in affected areas.