MANILA, Jan 8 (Mabuhay) — President Rodrigo Duterte is not declaring martial law amid the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, Malacañang said Friday, denying information circulating on social media.
“[That’s] fake news,” said acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles in a press briefing.
“Those who have nothing better to do and peddling lies, you should stop this,” he added.
Talks about martial law declaration were triggered by a voice message from an unidentified woman on social media asking the public to stock up on food that will last until the end of the month.
The woman claimed people would not be allowed to go out of their homes during the martial law once it is declared.
Spreading baseless and malicious rumors, Nograles said, contributes to unnecessary anxiety and panic.
“Hindi po ito nakakatulong [This is not helping anything],” Nograles said.
Under the 1987 Constitution, the President can only declare martial law in cases of rebellion, invasion or if public safety requires it. Such declaration can be extended or cut short by Congress.
The implementation of martial law allows authorities to arrest suspected rebels or criminals without a warrant and charge them within three days.
Should the authorities fail to charge these suspects within three days, these suspects must be released.
The Philippines on Thursday recorded 17,220 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the nationwide tally to 2,888,917.
At present, several areas, including the National Capital Region (NCR), under Alert Level 3 until January 15, 2022 due to the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.
Under Alert Level 3, several establishments will be allowed to operate at 30% indoor venue capacity only for fully vaccinated individuals and 50% outdoor venue capacity, provided that all employees are fully vaccinated.
Face-to-face classes, contact sports, funfairs/perya, and casinos are among the activities and establishments that are prohibited under Alert Level 3. (MNS)