Although quick to add it was not feasible, President Rodrigo Duterte admitted days before his 100th day in office that there were times when he was tempted to declare martial law due to our country’s problem on illegal drugs.
He made such admission while delivering a speech during his visit to the Jewish Association of the Philippines in a synagogue in Makati City.
You will recall that this was already the second time he made his desire to declare martial law known to the public.
The first was in August 2016, where he angrily said in response to the criticism of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno: Would you rather I declare martial law?
But does the 1987 Constitution even allow the President to declare martial law? Yes.
If this is so, does it allow him to declare it in all cases? No.
Then when can he declare it? Only in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it.
But you need to remember that invasion or rebellion alone is not enough.
Why? Because it is also essential that the public safety requires it.
This means the President can declare martial law only if there is either invasion or rebellion plus the public safety requires it.
If the public safety does not require it, he cannot declare it even when there is a clear case of invasion or rebellion.
But what if there is neither invasion nor rebellion and yet it is shown that the public safety requires it. Can the President declare martial law? No.
Why? Because our constitution is clear in that without invasion or rebellion, he cannot declare it even when the public safety requires it.
[Reference: Article VII (Executive Department), Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution]