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Drilon twits Panelo on martial law: Even law freshmen know better

Sen. Franklin Drilon on Thursday said the 1987 Philippine Constitution allows military rule in the country only under two circumstances: invasion or rebellion.

Drilon criticized presidential chief legal adviser Salvador Panelo for claiming that President Rodrigo Duterte can declare martial law when public safety requires it.

"Even a freshman law student can easily debunk Atty. Salvador Panelo's statement as having no legal basis," said Drilon.

"I do not know which Constitution he has learned in law school but our present Constitution has only provided two grounds for the declaration of martial law – invasion or rebellion. Drug menace is definitely not one of them," Drilon added.

Reacting to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno's actions as regards Duterte's shame campaign against protectors of drug dealers, Panelo said the president could declare martial law "when the public safety requires it."

"I think also that the Chief Justice misappreciated the magnitude of the drug problem that has risen to a crisis of proportion that may even under the Constitution could reach the application of the provision of the Constitution when it says that the president can declare martial law when the public safety requires it," Panelo told reporters in Malacañan Palace on Wednesday.

Article Seven, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution provides, "The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law."

"Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President," the constitution said.

"Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it," it added.

Drilon was also reacting Duterte's earlier remark about possibly placing the country under martial rule if the judiciary will get in the way of his war against illegal drugs. 

Duterte made the remark in response to a letter Sereno sent him about the seven judges the president named included in the list of alleged coddlers of drug dealers. 

Sereno said the judges should not surrender to law enforcers unless there are warrants for their arrest. 

However, Duterte said, "Hindi ako gago. If this continues, pigilan mo ako, o di sige... Or would you rather that I declare martial law?" — VVP/NB, GMA News