Presidential candidate Panfilo Lacson (File photo)

MANILA – Partido Reporma standard bearer Panfilo "Ping" Lacson on Sunday announced that he will be enforcing strict discipline among all government officials, employees, military and police personnel if successful in the May 9 presidential elections.

“Dapat talaga alisin, i-cleanse talaga ‘yung mga (We should really dismiss or cleanse [the government] of inept, corrupt, undisciplined officials and employees,” Lacson said.

He said this will prevent abuses and corrupt practices that for years have been tolerated or even encouraged during past presidencies.

Lacson is running for president in the 2022 elections in tandem with Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III with the goal of ending an era of poor governance and returning the kind of government that the people can trust by getting rid of the thieves plundering the nation’s coffers.

As this developed, he reassured Filipinos that the elements of democracy will be preserved and protected under his administration as he rejected outright thoughts and concerns about bringing back the dark days of martial law.

He added that imposing military rule or going the authoritarian route never crosses his mind because he still believes in democracy.

“Ah, wala, wala. (Oh, no, no.) Definitely, democracy will be preserved. Walang (No) martial law, walang (no) dictatorship,” Lacson said when asked if such developments would be possible under his government.

Lacson said the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which was enacted after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, already established certain guidelines on when to declare martial law that has essentially made it almost non-existent.

“In the first place, ang (the) martial law [is already] defined na sa (under the) Constitution at may limitasyon ang deklarasyon ng martial law (and the declaration of martial law has its limitations) as if there is no martial law,” Lacson added.

“Kasi, first, 60 days lang, ano—i-va-validate ng Congress. Pagkatapos the Bill of Rights are well-entrenched. Hindi magagalaw. Hindi pwedeng mang-aresto ng maski sino maski merong martial law (Because it is only limited to a period of 60 days upon the validation of Congress. Also, the Bill of Rights is well-entrenched. It won’t be touched. You cannot arrest just anyone even if there is a state of martial law)," he added.

Article 7, Section 18 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which explained the authorities vested on the executive branch of government, stated that martial law may only be proclaimed in cases of invasion or rebellion where public safety is in danger.

“A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,” the Constitution declared. (PNA)