Actress Angelika Dela Cruz, also a barangay captain in Malabon City, said she is in favor of the declaration of martial law to address the novel coronavirus crisis in the country.
Fears that President Rodrigo Duterte may resort to declaring martial law after he imposed a stricter enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and deployed law enforcement agencies in checkpoints.
He was also consistent in making “shoot to kill” remarks and threatening public arrests and detention of violators during his televised addresses on COVID-19.
For Dela Cruz, martial law can help the national government deal with stubborn Filipinos who keep on breaking the quarantine rules and risk spreading the deadly disease to others.
The umbrella directive limiting movement outside homes which is set to last until April 30 also bans all onsite activities as part of the measures to help slow down COVID-19 transmissions or “flatten the curve.”
On Monday, the actress-politician asked her followers on Instagram if they are in favor of implementing the martial law in the country during the pandemic.
“Curious lang po ako sa gusto ng tao. Pabor po ba kayo sa martial law habang may COVID-19 pa sa ating bansa?” she asked on April 20.
When asked if she supports it herself, Dela Cruz agreed, citing her fears that violators will lead to more positive cases.
“Sa totoo lang ang daming matigas ang ulo na hindi sumusunod sa ECQ natatakot akong dumami pa lalo ang positive cases ng COVID-19 sa bansa,” she commented.
Dela Cruz’s stance on martial law comes after her radio interview where she admitted that she is experiencing difficulties in making her constituents in Barangay Longos in Malabon follow virus prevention measures.
“Kaya ako, meron akong Team Sita ang tawag ko sa kanila. Sila iyung nag-iikot sa daytime, naninita ng mga tao, nanghuhuli ng mga lumalabag sa quarantine rules,” Dela Cruz was quoted as saying in an interview with DZRH.
“Tapos iyong Team Curfew, iyon naman iyong nanghuhuli sa gabi. Kaya ang mga tao ko talaga, walang tulugan,” she added.
She narrated that some residents within her jurisdiction recklessly violate curfew and quarantine rules despite the threat of contracting COVID-19 and transmitting it to others.
Dela Cruz then appealed to these residents and asked them to take the health crisis seriously, particularly the observance of social distancing.
“Kaya sundin na lang po natin iyon. Kaya sa mga violators, utang na loob, parang awa niyo na. May panahon para mag-inuman at para ewan ko kung ano ang gusto nilang gawin sa buhay nila,” she said.
Can martial law be implemented during a health crisis?
The 1987 Constitution states that martial law can only be implemented “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 Article VII (Executive Department) Section 18 read.
Duterte recently mentioned the martial rule again last week as a threat against Filipinos who keep on breaking the lockdown guidelines.
He said that he might order the military and the police to enforce the social distancing procedures which he likened to martial law.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, also the Inter-agency task force on COVID-19 spokesperson, on Friday said that the martial law is unlikely without invasion or rebellion.
“What the president said last night is very clear: martial law-type. Meaning to say, you know, just for those who won’t budge and continue to disobey the rules… then we will really employ and ask the military to come in and help with the police,” Nograles said during his virtual presser.
When he declared the community quarantine last March 12, Duterte stressed that the directive is not martial law.
“Hindi ito martial law. It is not a martial law. It’s not even something extraordinary. But what is sought — what is sought to be solved here is the again, walang iba except to fight the virus and to exact compliance. Mas mabuti talaga ‘yang maniwala kayo,” he said.
The Philippine National Police later responded to Duterte’s remarks and announced on Monday that cops will employ “martial law-type” apprehension of lockdown violators should the chief executive order it.