The Palace, through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, has issued a memorandum order to reinforce the current guidelines utilized by the AFP and PNP in crafting and implementing measures to suppress and prevent lawless violence.
Memorandum Order (MO) No. 32, issued on November 22, was issued in specific response to ‘sporadic acts’ of violence committed by lawless groups. The violent incidents have been common in the provinces of Samar, Negros Oriental and Occidental, and in the Bicol Region.
“There is a need to reinforce the directive of the President in order to prevent further loss of innocent lives and destruction of property and bring the whole country back to a state of complete normalcy as quick as possible,” Medaildea said in his memorandum order.
Similar accounts of lawless violence in Mindanao prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to sign Proclamation No. 55 in Sept. 4, 2016, which declared a state of emergency in the island.
Three days later, Medialdea issued MO No. 3, which provided the guidelines for proper implementation of the proclamation. These have been used by the AFP and PNP in their efforts to suppress the spread and escalation of lawless violence.
The guidelines provide that the AFP and PNP may undertake measures “as may be permitted by the Constitution and existing laws”.
“To ensure respect and protection of the fundamental civil and political rights of our citizens, there is a need to reiterate the measures that the AFP and PNP can undertake during the state of national emergency on account of lawless violence,” reads MO No. 32.
According to Medialdea, the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) shall coordinate the “immediate deployment” of additional AFP and PNP personnel to Samar, the Negros provinces, and the Bicol region. The AFP and PNP have also been ordered to closely coordinate with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and other law enforcement agencies, including the intelligence community, to intensify any current efforts and measures in place to stop acts of lawless violence.
All local government units have also been enjoined to give their full support to the above agencies and their efforts to curb the rise of violent incidents, as a way to ensure effective implementation of MO No. 32.
MO No. 32 reiterated that the AFP and the PNP must only act in a way that ensures the protection of the constitutional rights of each individual.
“Any AFP or PNP personnel found violating any of the foregoing rights shall be held administratively, civilly or criminally liable therefor,” the Order read.