NOT MARTIAL LAW: Duterte may suspend writ of habeas corpus if ‘lawlessness’ continues

Published November 12, 2016 6:05pm
Updated November 13, 2016 5:23pm
By ERWIN COLCOL, GMA News

NOT MARTIAL LAW: Duterte may suspend writ of habeas corpus if ‘lawlessness’ continues

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday night said he may be forced to suspend the writ of habeas corpus if lawlessness in Mindanao does not stop. Current top breaking Philippine headlines regarding the nation, world, metro manila, regions and exclusive special investigative reports.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday night said he may be forced to suspend the writ of habeas corpus if lawlessness in Mindanao does not stop.

“There is a rebellion being waged down in Mindanao. At kung magkalat still itong lawlessness, I might be forced to… ayaw ko, ayaw ko, warning ko lang sa kanila yan kasi hindi maganda. But if you force me to hand into it, I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus,” Duterte said, citing Maute terror group.

“Not martial law kasi wala akong balak sa politika kasi wala akong remedy,” he clarified in his speech during the launching of the Pilipinong May Puso Foundation in Davao City.

A writ of habeas corpus gives a person the right to contest before the court his or her arrest and detention. It serves as an instrument for safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary government action.

However, he said he wanted to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to “pick-up” those responsible for lawlessness.

“I will declare a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, pick-upin ko ‘yan lahat. Dalhin ko sa Samar, butasin ko yung Samar sa gitna para kasali na sila. Mamili sila,” the president said.

In his speech, Duterte talked in length about the drug menace in the country and his campaign against drugs.

He admitted that his powers may be limited to hold accountable all of the people involved in the illegal drug trade in the country.

“I am the President. Of course I have the powers, but it’s a very limited, but powerful limited functions. I cannot for the life of me imagine where i have to executive five, 10 Filipinos everyday before a firing squad,” he said.

He also insisted during his speech that the Philippines is “now in narcopolitics.”

Duterte had earlier said he doesn’t want to declare martial law even when it comes to his ongoing war against illegal drugs.

“Kasi ang droga, within government ang away ngayon… Paano ko makaya ito? Hindi naman ito madampot at patayin ko. Wala iyan eh. Ayaw ko naman mag-martial law,” Duterte said before the 9th Infantry Division in Camarines Sur on the 44th anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law.

Sen. Richard Gordon had proposed the granting of emergency powers, including the authority to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, to boost the government’s campaign against drugs and terrorism.

The country is still under a state of lawless violence, declared by Duterte in September following the deadly night market bombing in Davao City.

A day after Duterte signed the proclamation, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea admitted that the President had mulled the declaration of Martial Law, but immediately decided against it. —VVP, GMA News

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