Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said on May 4 in commentary program aired on PTV that there is an actual invasion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the President can use extraordinary measures to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. The President may call out the military, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or declare martial law.
“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,” the Constitution states.
Panelo said “may bago nang international meaning ang invasion- it can mean the entry of a disease and the transfer from one area to another.”
“Ano bang meron ngayon? There is an actual invasion of the coronavirus disease which is pandemic,” Panelo added. “It threatens in fact the entire country yung lahat ng mga kababayan natin so may actual na invasion.”
“Sa aking pananaw po bilang abogado, lahat ng sitwasyon o kalakaran na maaaring parang rebellion o invasion at nagbibigay ng panganib, imminent danger sa taumbayan eh pwede kang gumamit ng extraordinary power under the constitution,” he explained.