Don't be alarmed by 'state of lawlessness': ex-law dean

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2016 04:57 PM | Updated as of Sep 05 2016 04:58 PM

Former University of the East (UE) Law Dean Amado Valdez on Monday said there should be no cause for alarm on President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of "state of lawlessness."

Valdez said, with the declaration, the President and concurrent commander-in-chief recognizes the existence of a "continuing crime" being committed.

The declaration, he added, would allow Duterte to tap the military to help the police ensure public safety.

"When he said ‘I recognize a state of lawlessness,’ you do not have to put it in writing because the only purpose for that is to call the military to go to the streets and help the police," he explained in an interview with ANC's Dateline Philippines.

"The visibility of the military in peacekeeping, in peace and order keeping, is now justified because they are supposed to be for national defense and protecting the national territory only," he added.

Duterte on Saturday morning placed the entire country under a "state of lawlessness" after a bomb attack claimed by Abu Sayyaf extremists in Davao City left 14 dead and scores wounded. 

He is expected to sign an official proclamation on the state of lawlessness before he leaves for Laos this afternoon to attend the ASEAN Summit.

Valdez said, there should be no fear that the president will go to the extent of declaring martial law, which he noted would need Congress' approval.

"Our judicial institutions, our free press are there, civil society is active, the social media is active, Congress is functioning, there has been no abolition of these institutions,” he said.

“The president, at 71, I don't think he does it for power or to perpetuate himself in power...," he said.

But, he emphasized, the declaration of a state of lawlessness does not suspend the writ of habeas corpus.

"The police and the military [are] still under obligation to bring you to court so that your person will be disposed of within 36 hours," he said.