Press Release
January 16, 2017

Drilon urges Duterte admin: Observe prudence in making public statements

Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin M. Drilon cautioned the Duterte administration against making statements capable of causing fear and tension.

Drilon was referring to the President's recent statements regarding the declaration of a martial law in the country.

"We call on the administration to exercise prudence in making public statements that are very disturbing and could create undue fear and tension in the country," Drilon said.

In his speech, the President said: "I have to protect the Filipino people. It's my duty. And I tell you now, if I have to declare martial law, I will declare it. Not about invasion, insurrection, not about danger. I will declare martial law to preserve my nation, period. Wala akong pakialam diyan sa Supreme Court. Because the right to preserve one's life, and my nation, my country, transcends everything else, even the limitations."

Drilon said such pronouncements only strengthen the people's perception that "the rule of law plays second fiddle to the administration's campaign against drugs."

A lawyer and former justice secretary, Drilon explained the 1987 Constitution only allows the declaration of martial law, upon the concurrence of two requisites: one, when there is actual invasion or rebellion and two, when public safety requires it. These two requisites must be present, he noted.

Drilon also defended the media who were again accused by the President's communication team of misreporting the President's remarks.

"The way I see it, the news reports were devoid of any interpretation by the media," Drilon said.

"The reports were based on the President's speech and the statements were quoted verbatim. We should not blame the press for reporting what the President said," Drilon emphasized.

Drilon said a clarification from the Palace would have been unnecessary if prudence was exercised in the first place.

"The truth is, mere talk of martial law is enough to send chills to the spine of any Filipino. Therefore, it is something that should not be taken lightly," said Drilon, adding that the recent Pulse Asia survey showing that 74 percent of Filipinos are against the imposition of martial law would confirm it.

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