MANILA—Department of Justice spokesperson and undersecretary Markk Perete on Wednesday night clarified the “shoot-to-kill” order the President gave to police officers whom he instructed to go after “erroneously released” prisoners who will refuse to surrender.
“Dead or alive, if you have to shoot the guy because he is offering violent resistance,” Duterte said in response to a question if he will issue a shoot-to-kill order.
Perete qualified the announcement, though, saying in a text message: “From the statements I heard, what the President said was if in the course of effecting a re-arrest, those sought to be rearrested pose a real threat to the life of apprehending officers, then the officers may take such action necessary to ensure their safety.”
“But the President predicated this statement on a lawful rearrest,” he added.
Perete also said that the President gave those who have been “erroneously released” time to voluntarily surrender, otherwise they will be treated as fugitives.
The President on Wednesday night fired Bureau of Corrections chief Nicanor Faeldon and ordered those who have been released under the good conduct time allowance law to surrender within 15 days.
In his speech, Duterte said Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra advised him that there is a law which is the legal basis for the rearrest order.
Asked for the specific law, Perete deferred the question to Guevarra, who is still in Malacanang attending a cabinet meeting as of writing.
Perete gave the same response when asked about the legal basis for a hold departure order (HDO) without a court issuance.
The President, in his press conference, said the order was “automatic.”
“Automatic yan, p******a, 'pag pinalaya mo 'yun, pinasakay ng eroplano, ikarga kita sa helicopter, ihulog kita, I will handcuff you then I will throw you out . . . Bakit mo paaalisin 'yan, hanap ka ng sakit ng ulo?” he said.
A 2018 Supreme Court decision held that the power to issue HDO is inherent to the courts and not to an executive agency like the DOJ.
“[T]he liberty of abode may only be impaired by a lawful order of the court and, on the one hand, the right to travel may only be impaired by a law that concerns national security, public safety or public health. Therefore, when the exigencies of times call for a limitation on the right to travel, the Congress must respond to the need by explicitly providing for the restriction in a law,” the high court said in Genuino v. De Lima.