ALLIES of President Rodrigo Duterte in the House of Representatives allayed fears of the public about the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, saying Congress will surely review the order if given.
In a radio interview, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said that the suspension of writ of habeas corpus will not be approved by the House of Representatives if not properly and legally justified by the executive department.
While Alvarez respects the pronouncement of President Duterte, he told public that it is premature to react since it is just an announcement and it has not been implemented yet.
“Saka na natin tatalakayin iyan kapag ginawa na talaga ng Presidente iyon at titingnan natin kung ang pagdeklara ng suspensyon ng writ of habeas corpus ay mayroong sapat na basehan. Pero sa ngayon mahirap po ang mag-speculate,” Alvarez said.
“Depende iyan, kung talaga namang kinakailangan, bakit hindi ilulusot. At kung hindi naman kailangan, talagang hindi lulusot iyan. As I’ve said before, hindi naman tayo rubber stamp ng Malakanyang,” the Speaker added.
Last week, in his speech in Davao City, Duterte said he may forced to suspend the writ of habeas corpus due to lawlessness prevailing in Mindanao and the drug menace in many parts of the country.
Meanwhile, two more allies Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe and PBA Rep. Jericho Jonas Nograles said there is no reason for the suspension of writ of habeas corpus, at least for now.
Both Batocabe and Nograles said they do not see enough reason to suspend the writ of habeas corpus since the government has ongoing peace talks with different rebel groups and at the same time the war on drugs is on the right track.
For Batocabe, the administration’s campaign on drugs is not a justification for Duterte to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
Batocabe, a lawyer, explained that under the Constitution, the writ of habeas corpus can be suspended in two situations -- invasion and rebellion.
“Offhand, ngayon I don’t see any reason bakit kailangang magkaroon ng suspension of the privilege of the writ on the war against drugs,” Batocabe said.
The solon added that even a state of lawlessness does not fall under the condition of invasion and rebellion.
The solon even pointed out that the declaration of the suspension of writ of habeas corpus can be questioned before Congress and Supreme Court and can be revoked if there is no legal basis.
For his part, Nograles said there is no need to suspend the writ at a time when the administration is holding peace talks with the communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF) and the Muslim groups Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
But Batocabe is confident that the President will not make a decision that is against the Constitution and that he treated this “testing the waters” to see the public reception on a possible move to suspend the writ.
“Hindi naman niya (Duterte) sinasabing plano niya, kundi kung saka-sakali lang. Tinitingnan niya lang pulso ng taumbayan,” Batocabe also said.
As part of the mandate of the lawmakers, Batocabe said they will also consult their constituents to determine if they will accept Duterte’s pronouncement.
Once the writ of habeas corpus is suspended, warrantless arrest will be implemented. The writ is a privilege given to aggrieved parties seeking the court’s intervention for the state to produce the body of a person in custody.
Under Article VII, Section 18 of the Constitution, the President may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in case of invasion or rebellion, or when the public safety requires it, for a period not exceeding 60 days.