MANILA – Malacanang clarified on Sunday that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is just an idea aired by President Rodrigo R. Duterte amid his all-out war against illegal drugs.
”He has not yet announced the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. It is just an idea,” Presidential Communications Operations (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar said in an interview with Radyo ng Bayan dzRB.
Last Friday night, President Duterte warned that he could suspend the writ of habeas corpus “if you force my hand into it.”
The President, however, clarified that it was just his warning against the criminals and drug syndicates.
”That is just my warning to them. I don’t want it because it’s not good,” Duterte told his audience during the launching of the Pilipino May Puno Foundation in Davao City.
The privilege of writ of habeas corpus is a safeguard against warrantless arrests.
Andanar said the problem of illicit drug trades in the country is so huge that it prompted President Duterte to ask for extension of a six-month deadline to address the drug menace that, according to the President, has contaminated over three million Filipinos.
”The President is so worried already and he mentioned a lot of times already that he needs the cooperation of everybody because he cannot do it alone,” Andanar said.
”So when the President mentioned the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, I believe that this is pertaining to our problem in the illegal drugs here in the country,” he added.
When asked if a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is tantamount to lifting of state of lawlessness, Andanar explained the state of lawless violence was imposed to counter the bomb threats.
”That’s been effective in terms of thwarting terrorists plans and capturing suspects,” he further explained.
President Duterte declared a state of lawless violence following the Davao City bombing that claimed 14 lives and injured 70 others last Sept. 2.
”Although the problem of illegal drugs and terrorism are both chaotic, these are two different problems,” Andanar said. Jelly Musico/PNA-northboundasia.com