Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo floated an idea, a legal theory, that President Rodrigo Duterte can declare martial law on the basis of an ‘invasion’ brought about by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). It can be recalled that the virus has circulated worldwide and crippled the health care system and economy of various countries.
Panelo, in his commentary show on People’s Television, explained that the term ‘invasion’ has changed over the years and it may also mean ‘the entry of disease and the transfer from one area to another’.
“There is an actual invasion of the coronavirus disease, which is pandemic. It threatens, in fact, the entire country, so may aktwal na invasion (there is an actual invasion),” states Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, in an article published by CNN Philippines. Moreover, the Constitution provides that the president may only declare martial law in case of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it.
It may be recalled that President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to declare martial should communist rebels continue to cause disarray.