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Palace distances itself from Panelo's 'virus invasion' idea

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
Palace distances itself from Panelo's 'virus invasion' idea
This screenshot is from Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo's show on state-run PTV.
Screenshot from PTV

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday distanced itself from Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo's statement that an "invasion" by a virus can be a ground for the declaration of martial law.

"I think that is the personal view of Secretary Panelo. There is a memo that designates the Office of the Presidential Spokesperson as the only authorized office to speak in behalf of the president and in behalf of the executive branch of government," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing.

"We cannot, of course, deprive Secretary Panelo of his freedom of speech," he added.

Panelo made the claim on his show on state-run and taxpayer-funded PTV.

Asked whether Panelo had advised President Rodrigo Duterte about his invasion theory, Roque replied: "Probably, but the president, being a long-time public servant, is a specialist not only in criminal law because he was a prosecutor for many years but is also a specialist on constitutional law."

Roque also agreed with the view of Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who said invasion as a ground for martial law refers to actions of human beings, not viruses. He noted that Duterte has given an assurance that in case he declares martial law, it would be compliant with the constitution.

"I think that is the presidential proclamation on this issue... That means his position is different from that of Secretary Panelo," Roque said.

HARRY ROQUE MARTIAL LAW NOVEL CORONAVIRUS SALVADOR PANELO
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