Lawmakers condemn Davao blast, reaffirm support for Duterte

Mara Cepeda
Lawmakers condemn Davao blast, reaffirm support for Duterte
(UPDATED) Congressmen call for continued public support for President Rodrigo Duterte, who has declared a nationwide state of lawlessness, but a few of their colleagues caution against the declaration

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Members of the House of Representatives condemned the deadly blast at a night market in Davao City, which left at least 14 people dead and over 60 others wounded.

The explosion occurred on Friday evening, September 2, at the Roxas Night Market in Davao City. Terrorist group Abu Sayyaf claimed responsibility  for the blast.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who was mayor of Davao City for two decades, already declared a “state of lawlessness” nationwide. (For updates on the Davao blast, check Rappler’s live blog)

This move was supported by several lawmakers, mostly members of or allied with the President’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), but a few – like a couple of senators – have cautioned against it. (READ: PNP, AFP ‘cannot run the country,’ senator says)

Read the full statements of the congressmen below.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Davao del Norte 1st District

“I join the rest of officialdom and the Filipino people in strongly condemning the
bombing of a crowded night market in Davao City that claimed the lives of at least 14 innocent people and injuries to more than 70 others.

“I understand that the Abu Sayyaf Group has claimed responsibility for this cowardly and senseless act of violence. If this is confirmed, then government is well within its right to run after them with hammer and tongs and to neutralize them with all the resources at its command.

“I fully support President Duterte’s declaration of a state of lawless violence not just in Davao City but throughout the country. This will give our law enforcers and the military the means to carry out deterrent measures not just against further acts of terror but also against other forms of criminality, including trafficking in illegal drugs. 

“I urge our people to likewise support the Duterte administration’s resolute campaign against terrorism and criminality. We should all stand united behind this effort as we need law and order to propel inclusive economic growth in the years ahead.”

Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano, Taguig City

“I strongly condemn this latest act of terrorism, claimed to have been perpetrated by the Abu Sayyaf Group, in Davao City. There is no justification for the killing and harming of unarmed civilians – children, women and men – regardless of one’s cause or ideology. I join our nation in calling for justice and offering prayers and support to our kababayans in Davao, especially those who have lost their loved ones.

“As a member of Congress, I reaffirm my full support for President Rodrigo Duterte and his efforts to seek justice and achieve peace and order in Mindanao and the rest of the country. I appeal to my fellow lawmakers and our people to stand firm with our government and our security forces, and the steps that have to be taken to hunt down and bring the terrorists to justice, and to defeat the enemies of peace, unity and development.”

Karlo Nograles, Davao City 1st District

“We condemn in the strongest sense the terroristic attack against innocent civilians of Davao City. We pray for the victims of the blast and their families, and assure them of government’s support. We also pray for those responsible for this abhorrent act, that you may realize humankind will not succumb to hatred. If you pursue your wicked agenda at the cost of innocent lives, it will only strengthen the people’s resolve to reject it. #StayStrongDavao”

Jericho Jonas Nograles, PBA (also from Davao City)

“I am shaken but not afraid. Definitely, last Friday’s cowardly attack at our night market in Davao City brought so much shock and anger for Davaoenos like myself.  I still cannot understand why civilians have to become targets of these reckless acts of violence. Clearly, these cowards turn to helpless civilians because they don’t have the spine to face those who can fight them face-to-face, mano-a-mano.

“But if these terrorists think that this attack against Davao will scare us or will diminish our commitment to support President Duterte’s war against drugs and terrorism, they are gravely mistaken. Our support for the President will not be weakened but instead, it will be strengthened. 

“Just like the 91% of Filipinos who are true-believers of the president, I will support President Duterte’s actions to be able to identify and neutralize the perpetrators of this barbaric attack in Davao City. I support his decision to declare a “state of lawlessness” to ensure that those responsible for this attack will have nowhere to hide and no one will give them a safe refuge.

“We will fight beside the president and with God’s grace, I’m certain that these people who are continuously undermining our government’s quest for peace and progress will finally realize that President Duterte is their worst nightmare.  He will bring them down, hard and fast.”

Edcel Lagman, Albay 1st District

“The declaration of a state of lawlessness appears to be legally unnecessary, even as it is alarming, for the following reasons:

  • “It is a rective declaration confronting lawless situations which does not confer any extraordinary emergency powers to the President.
  • “Without such declaration, the President, as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief, can still summon the Armed Forces of the Philippines to suppress lawless violence in any part of the country, cause the installation of police blockages and checkpoints without unwarranted searches, as well as impose limited and reasonable curfew hours.
  • “If there is any importance attached to such declaration, it is to convey and stress the resolve of the President to contain and apprehend lawless elements and exercise the powers vested in him.
  • “The downside or negative effects of such proclamation are:
  1.  “It unduly alarms the people of the President’s emerging exercise of extraordinary emergency powers like the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and declaration of martial law; 
  2. “Abuses of civil, political and human rights could happen in its implementation;
  3. “The nationwide coverage of the declaration projects a grim scenario of countrywide lawlessness, where in fact the overwhelming majority of the areas in the country are peaceful. 

“What has been happening unabated and with impunity are the extrajudicial killings perpetrated by police authorities and their civilian cohorts.

“The incessant calls for the cessation of these daily incidents of lawless violence have been unheeded.

“State violence begets violence by non-state actors.”

Gary Alejano, Magdalo


I condemn the bombing in Davao which led to the death of 14 people and scores of wounded. That has been the diversionary tactic of Abu Sayaff when major operations are conducted against them. It happened before. Intel gatherings must be intensified to thwart any future attempts of bombings.

“Declaration of state of lawlessness by the President to suppress lawless violence in the country is equally worrisome considering the alleged violations of human rights already happening in the conduct of anti drug operations.”

Kaka Bag-ao, Dinagat Islands

“My thoughts and prayers are with Davao and its people. I am one with all of you in expressing solidarity with the victims and their families and condemnation towards the perpetrators. In facing this crisis, it is in my deepest of hopes that our government be given the strength to discern and carry out the wisest course of action that would bring swift justice and dispel fear and panic. Let us all be vigilant in the wake of this tragedy. Let peace, unity, and the rule of law prevail.”

Ben Evardone, Eastern Samar (on behalf of House Eastern Visayas bloc)

“We extend our deepest sympathies for the bereaved families of the casualties of the horrific explosion in Davao City Friday night. We share agony of the Filipino nation in the wake of this tragedy.

“We condemn in strongest terms this evil act and those responsible for their cowardly attack against innocent civilians.

“I enjoin the 17th Congress and the Filipino people to reaffirm our trust and confidence, and support for President Rodrigo Duterte, the AFP and PNP’s fight against this kind of terrorism.”

Harry Roque, Kabayan

“Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of a state of lawless violence in the wake of the blast in Davao City that claimed the lives of at least 15 people and left more than 60 others injured, we must see to it that civil liberties continue to be protected even when the President has exercised his calling out power.

“To clarify, the President’s declaration of a state of lawless violence is not a declaration of Martial Law, but rather merely an exercise of his calling out power.

“As ruled by the Supreme Court in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines vs Zamora (G.R. No. 141284, August 15, 2000), the only criterion for the exercise of the calling out power is that ‘whenever it becomes necessary, the President may call the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion,’ with the implication that the President is given full discretion and wide latitude in the exercise of this power.

“However, such declaration by the President should not lead to the suppression of civil liberties, even though there is a tendency for the government to do so as evidenced by the arrest of Prof. Randy David in February 24, 2006 following President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s issuance of Presidential Proclamation 1017 as implemented by General Order No. 5 declaring a state of national emergency.”

Edgar Sarmiento, Samar 1st District

“The people of Samar share the anguish of the people of Davao City following this horrific bomb attack in a crowded night market that killed more than a dozen innocent civilians. The people behind this cowardly attack must not go unpunished

“And while this attack should remind all of us to be more vigilant at all times because of this rising threat of terrorism here in the Philippines and elsewhere, it should not disrupt our way of life. We should continue to show that we are not afraid because this is the very reason why these cowards try so hard to terrorize us. They thrive on our fear so we should deny them this satisfaction.

“However, this should also serve as a wake-up call for us to be more pro-active in helping authorities in its campaign against crime and terrorism. Our people should be more vigilant and should not be afraid to report to authorities all suspicious individuals who may be engaged in illegal activities in their respective communities.

“Let us all help in President Duterte’s effort to track down and punish the perpetrators of this dastardly act.  Let  us all rally behind the people of Davao so that they would truly feel that the we share their pain and that their fight is our fight too.”

Jerry Treñas, Iloilo City

“In behalf of the people of Iloilo City, we strongly condemn this senseless bomb attack at the night market of Davao City last Friday.  Once again, people lost their lives, families were orphaned and dreams were cut short by demented zealots who obviously have no place in any civilized society like ours.

“I join our people in praying for the eternal repose of those who perished in this horrific terrorist attack  and for the immediate recovery of those who were wounded.  I pray also that the savages who are behind this attack are immediately brought to justice.

“I also support the President Duterte’s response to mobilize the country’s security forces prevent other similar attacks and track down the perpetrators by any lawful means.

“I call on our people to stay more vigilant and be more watchful of suspicious people in their communities and should not hesitate to report them to authorities. We should all step up to stop terrorism. We can only make our communities safer by looking out for each other.”

Tom Villarin, Akbayan

Nagdadalamhati ang Akbayan sa pagkamatay at pinsalang idinulot ng pambobomba sa Davao City noong gabi ng Setyembre 2, 2016. Ipinararating po namin ang aming pakikiramay at suporta sa pamilya ng mga biktima. Bilang inako na ng Abu Sayyaff ang responsibilidad, mariin naming kinukundena ang karahasang ginawa nila.

(Akbayan is mourning for the death and losses caused by the bombing in Davao City on September 2, 2016. We are sending our condolences and support for the families of the victims. We are condemning the tragedy that the Abu Sayaff claimed responsibility for.)

Subalit hindi dapat ito gamitin upang pangatwiranan ang paniniil sa ating mga kalayaan. Kinukwestyon namin ang pagdeklara ng state of lawlessness dulot ng pambobomba. Hindi maaring supilin ang mga batayang karapatan ng mamamayan sa malayang paglalakbay, malayang pamamahayag, at laban sa warrantless searches. Ang kailangan ay mas masugid na intelligence work at epektibong police at military operations laban sa mga Abu Sayyaf upang maaresto ang mga gumawa ng karumal-dumal na krimeng ito.

(But we should not use this incident as an opportunity to suppress freedom. We are questioning the declaration of a state of lawlessness due to the blast. We cannot suppress the people’s rights to travel, free speech, and against warrantless searches. What we need is a better intelligence work as well as effective police and military operations against the Abu Sayaff to make those responsible accountable.)

Nanawagan din po ang Akbayan na patuloy po tayong maging alerto at mapagmasid sa mga elementong may balak maghasik ng lagim para tayo’y takutin. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom we now enjoy.”

(Akbayan is making a call for continued vigilance against elements who are planning to scare us. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom we now enjoy.)

Carlos Isagani Zarate, Bayan Muna

“We condemn in the strongest terms this latest terroristic attack on our city.
We extend our sympathies to the victims and their families.

“I stand with my fellow Davaoeños in calling for justice to the victims of this cowardly and barbaric attack on hapless civilians.

“We call on the  government to use the full force of the law to bring to the bar of justice the perpetrators of this dastardly crime.

“We also call on the Filipino people to be vigilant as the Davao blast incident might be used by undemocratic elements to foment more chaos and
sabotage the peace initiatives of the Duterte administration and the revolutionary groups.” –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.