MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) sees no need to expand martial law to Negros Island after Malacañang floated it as a possible solution to the spate of violence in the area.
"It is the prerogative of the President to use any of his power provided by law.... But for the moment, the situation there is under control and all PNP units there remain on full alert and vigilant to thwart and prevent occurrence of crimes and killings," the PNP said in a statement on Friday, August 2.
The national police command had earlier sacked the Negros Oriental police chief following the high-profile killings.
The PNP issued a statement after President Rodrigo Duterte said he was willing to employ "drastic" measures to quell violence in Negros. His spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said Duterte "can declare martial law" in the island – if security officials so recommend.
The PNP's statement is so far more aligned with that of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who said he would reserve making any recommendation on the extreme measure after he receives more information from the military and the police.
Duterte's plan for Negros was in response to the spate of killings in Negros Oriental, where a total of 21 people were killed from July 18 to 27. The fatalities include a lawyer, a barangay captain, a city councilor, a former mayor, and a one-year-old child. (READ: 15 shot dead in Negros Oriental in 1 week)
Back in November 2018, Duterte had issued Memorandum Order No. 32 deploying more cops and soldiers to Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental, aside from Samar province and Bicol.
The PNP has since then placed cops in the island on full alert, which means that they were required to work overtime to complete more operations and patrol rounds. – Rappler.com