Gov't must explain 'state of emergency' to int'l community: ex-FBI agent

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 06 2016 03:28 PM

After President Rodrigo Duterte declared a national state of emergency on account of lawless violence in the country, an expert believes the administration must now explain to the international community what this means.

On ANC's Headstart Tuesday, retired US Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and consultant Stephen Cutler said though he understands Duterte's motivation in the proclamation, other stakeholders in the international community might not understand. 

"I think one of the things that needs to be explained better to the international community is the difference in the wording and the difference in the effect between state of lawlessness or lawless violence, state of emergency, martial law, and so on," he said.

Cutler noted, millions of Filipinos are in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, where employers are based in Europe, United States, or elsewhere.

"I don’t think that the government has done a really good job of explaining to the people outside the Philippines what this ['state of national emergency' proclamation] means," he added.

"When a headquarter office in London or Paris or so on receive information that their expats are being listed by the Philippine National Police or the Armed Forces of the Philippines, even the barangays and so on, and people are knocking on doors and so on, that worries them because they’re seeing things in a different context than we in the Philippines see, and I think that needs to be taken into account," he said.

Cutler said, though he is not alarmed by the way the administration is handling its anti-drug campaign, he is concerned "to make sure that the administration and that the nation properly explains itself."

He agrees with Lyceum of the Philippines University College of Law Dean Soledad Mawis that "there is a line that you have to walk to make sure that you are not on what we have called a slippery slope to martial law," or the American "The Law of the Old West," where law is at the hands of those who own a gun.

"There is a way of protecting the people, there is a way of protecting people’s rights. I think the Philippines needs to make sure that we’re paying attention to that," he said.

But he emphasized, with talk of rule of law, the country's justice system must also be improved.

"We’ve got to make sure that trials and cases are resolved quicker than seven to ten years. We need to make sure that we have very quick and sure justice," he said.