MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus has been suspended in Mindanao, where he had declared martial law following clashes between government troops and the terror Maute group.
“By virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution and by law, I had to declare martial in the Mindanao group of islands for a period not exceeding 60 days effective as of May 23, 2017,” Duterte said in his speech upon arriving from Russia.
He had to cut his trip short to attend to the Mindanao security emergency.
“The privilege of writ of habeas corpus is likewise suspended in the aforesaid area for the duration of martial law,” he added.
The suspension of the writ means a person charged with rebellion or invasion may be arrested by government forces without a court-issued warrant.
Duterte rushed home after declaring martial law in the entire Mindanao after a gunfight between government troops and the Maute Group in Marawi City on Tuesday, which has led to a still undetermined number of deaths and injuries.
Clashes in Marawi City erupted as government troops were about to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, an Abu Sayyaf leader who has been named the Philippine head of the Islamic State. The US government is offering a $5-million bounty for his capture.
The clashes resulted in the burning of several buildings in the city. A parish priest and several parishioners were also held hostage.