Duterte signs proclamation on state of lawlessness

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Before leaving for his official foreign trip, President Duterte formally signed a document proclaiming a state of national emergency due to lawless violence.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte signed on Monday a proclamation putting the country under a state of emergency on account of lawless violence.

Duterte signed the document before flying off to Laos for the Asean summit.

Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Asec. Kristian Ablan said the proclamation "technically took effect today and remains in force until lifted by the President."

Duterte made a verbal announcement of declaring a state of lawlessness nationwide on the wee hours of Saturday morning — hours after a night market blast killed 14 in his hometown Davao City. He said he would later put this into formal writing.

Also read: Davao City blast caused by cellphone-triggered IED

Ablan said the declaration commands the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to undertake measures permitted by the Constitution and laws to suppress all forms of  lawless violence in Mindanao and prevent lawless violence from spreading elsewhere across the country.

He said the State of National Emergency on account of lawless violence would give "due regard to fundamental and civil political rights" and would have nothing to do with martial law or the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.

"It's just a stepped-up campaign of the police and the military to to ensure the safety of the general public," the Palace official said.

For his part, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said a copy of the proclamation had yet to be released.

Checks and balance

Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Gordon on Sunday allayed fears of another martial law, saying what the President announced early Saturday morning was different.

Gordon, who heads the Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigation or commonly known as the Blue Ribbon Committee, said the Senate would be open to receive and probe into complaints of abuses of the police or the military under a state of emergency due to lawlessness.

Read: Panelo: Public should not be alarmed by nationwide declaration of state of lawless violence

"The Blue Ribbon is empowered to investigate misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance in office by officers and employees of the government, its branches, agencies, subdivisions and instrumentalities, and more importantly, any matter of public interest," Gordon said. "Any citizen who feels he had been aggrieved by the military checkpoints or by any military man or any member of the government could come to the Blue Ribbon Committee at any time."