MANILA - Vice-Presidential Leni Robredo said there are no compelling reasons yet for President Rodrigo Duterte to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, after the latter threatened to suspend the constitutional safeguard against unlawful detention to solve “lawlessness” in Mindanao.
Robredo, a human rights lawyer, said the the Constitution is clear about the grounds needed for the President to suspend the writ and the illegal drug problem is not one of them.
"Yung sa Constitution natin, talagang isa naman yan sa mga option. Pero klaro yung parameters, klaro yung dahilan kung kailan yung pwede mag-declare, ‘di ba? - invasion or rebellion when public safety requires,” Robredo said in an interview.
“So kapag merong ganoong sitwasyon, talagang yung pangulo it is within his powers na mag-declare.”
(The Constitution allows that. But there are clear parameters in suspending the writ – invasion or rebellion.)
She added that suspending the writ of habeas corpus is an “extraordinary remedy” and the current situation does not seem to warrant its suspension.
"Siguro ngayon, wala namang ganoong sitwasyon. Hindi natin alam sa susunod, pero sana hindi tayo umabot sa ganoong sitwasyon," she said.
(For now I don’t see the need to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. Hopefully we don’t reach that point.)
Duterte on Friday said he may be forced to suspend the writ if lawlessness in Mindanao worsens.
In a speech at the launching of the Pilipinong May Puso Foundation in Davao City on Friday, Duterte said a rebellion in Mindanao is ongoing and, if it gets out of control, he would consider suspending the writ of habeas corpus so he can start "picking up" those responsible for the disorder.
"At kung magkalat itong still lawlessness, I might be forced to — ayaw ko, ayaw ko. Warning ko lang sa kanila 'yan, ayaw ko kasi hindi maganda. But if you force my hand into it, I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, not martial law. Wala akong balak sa pulitika. But I will kasi wala akong remedy," Duterte said.
(If the lawlessness spreads, I might be forced to — I don't want to, I don't want to. I'm just warning them, but I don't want to do it because it's not good. It's not political, but I will do it because I have no remedy for it.)
"I cannot issue an order without a valid . . . I have to build a case one by one."