Palace: Writ of Habeas Corpus Will Only Be Suspended When Necessary

Manila Bulletin, November 15, 2016 | Go to article overview

Palace: Writ of Habeas Corpus Will Only Be Suspended When Necessary


by Genalyn D. Kabiling and Aaron B. Recuenco

MalacaAaAaAeA~ang yesterday said that President Duterte might take a "mo drastic action" against lawless elements by suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus only if and when necessary, a move readily supported by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said the President's pronouncement on the possible suspension of the writ serves as a "stern warning" to lawless elements.

"This will be a big help, number one, it will make our job easier. Number two, it will provide enough deterrence to drug violators," said Dela Rosa.

The writ of habeas corpus is a legal course against arbitrary arrest and illegal detention by the government. Such petition directs the State to present a person before the court and justify his detention.

"As we are under a state of emergency on account of lawless violence in Mindanao, and should conditions are in place that demand it, the President may have this option. This serves as a stern warning to lawless elements that he would use his executive powers in accordance to what the Constitution allows," Abella siad.

SCARE TACTICS?

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II believes that President Duterte was only using scare tactics when he raised the prospects of suspending the writ of habeas corpus as part of efforts to combat illegal drugs and rebellion in Mindanao.

"Nananakot siguro, ganyan naman si Presidente (He might only be scaring people, that's how the President is)," said Aguirre.

"While police action continues to be the instrument for ensuring peace and order, the President reminds the affected populace and perpetrators of lawless violence that it may take more drastic action, if and when necessary," Abella added.

VP LENI REACTS

Vice President Leni Robredo said that if President Duterte has to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, it should be done in case of invasion or rebellion, but not on the grounds of lawlessness and illegal drug operations.

"The Constitution is clear on the grounds when it should be declared. These are invasion and rebellion when public safety requires," she said in Filipino.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin supported the Vice President's stand, adding that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is tantamount to resurrection of martial law.

"Suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for this obsession with the drug problem will turn neighbors against neighbors, turn our barangays into hunting grounds. And it was in that environment of paranoia and darkness that Marcos oversaw the detention, torture, and death of thousands of people who dared to speak up against him," Villarin said in a statement. …

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