SENATOR Leila de Lima yesterday expressed reservations on the guidelines on warrantless arrests contained in President Duterte’s proclamation of a state of national emergency.
De Lima said she would oppose the proposal to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, which she compared to a “creeping Martial Law” as it would mean that the court could no longer inquire on the legality of a person’s arrest or detention.
“The privilege of the writ can only be suspended in cases of rebellion and invasion. The drug war is not really an invasion or rebellion. Using war to describe the anti-drug campaign is just a figure of speech,” De Lima said.
She further explained, “We should not take the analogy too far as to think that the drug war is a literal war between armed combatants dedicated to waging said war, and treat drug lords and pushes as foreign invaders or rebels out to overthrow government. They are not. Let us keep that basic constitutional consideration in mind.”
Based on the guidelines, De Lima said she has no problem with the first three instances when a warrantless arrest can be made, while it’s the fourth instance that worries her.
The fourth instance, which does not sit well with De Lima, is when the person to be arrested has voluntarily waived his right against warrantless arrest.
“Yung pang-apat ang medyo problematic po sa akin... We’re talking here about warrantless arrest, na dapat, kapag warrantless arrest, iyong tatlo lang na situations yan. So bakit dadagdagan ng ganito?” asked the senator.
The three instances, under the law, and as also espoused in the Palace guidelines, warrantless arrests are allowed only when: the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense in the presence of the arresting officer; an offense has just been committed and the arresting officer has personal knowledge of facts indicating that the person to be arrested has committed the offense; and, the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he or she is serving final judgment or temporarily confined while the case is pending.