Lacson nixes suspension of habeas corpus over drug problem


Posted at Nov 14 2016 02:07 PM

Policemen escort two men who were detained because of pending criminal court cases, during an anti-drugs operation in Mandaluyong. Reuters

Senator Panfilo Lacson does not believe President Rodrigo Duterte can suspend the privilege of writ of habeas corpus over the drug problem.

While illegal drugs may be a national security issue, Lacson said the Philippine Constitution specifically limits the scenarios by which a president may declare such suspension to rebellion and invasion.

"'Pag (If) illegal drugs, how can he justify suspension of the privilege of writ of habeas corpus? I don't think so," he said in an interview on ANC. 

"It is not included in the provision sa Constitution. Wala naman sinabi dung illegal drugs na out of control, pwede na mag suspend ng privilege ng writ. There's no such thing."

Duterte on Friday said he might be forced to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus if lawlessness in the country continues.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the president may only suspend the privilege, which grants a person the right to report or question an unlawful detention or imprisonment before a court, in cases of invasion or rebellion and when public safety requires it.

Lacson explained if the privilege of the writ is actually suspended, anybody can be arrested or detained without a warrant. He added, the reglementary period shall also be disregard in such scenario.

"Meaning, as long as it takes to investigate and file the information, or even refer the case to the prosecutor’s office hanggang sa ma-file yung information, walang reglementary period na maximum of 36 hours," he said.

He added the reglementary period would be extended to up to 60 days, but "within that 60-day period, so many things can happen." 

He noted more deaths is possible under those conditions.

Lacson echoed Malacañang's statement that Duterte's pronouncement may have only been a scare tactic.