Alvarez: suspension of writ of habeas corpus a presidential option
It’s a presidential prerogative.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez today said it is entirely up to President Rodrigo Duterte whether or not to make good on his warning to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
Last Friday President Duterte said he might suspend the writ of habeas corpus if lawlessness spreads in Mindanao, adding that such move would strengthen his campaign against illegal drugs and rebellion.
“The President is entitled to order such suspension in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Philippines, said Alvarez in a phone-patch TV interview.
“Ngayon nasa sa desisyon niya yan kung sa tingin niya ay kinakailangan na suspendihin ang writ of habeas corpus. Dapat pagpasyahan niya sapagkat Presidente lang ang puwedeng magpasya, “ he added.
But until the President makes such action Alvarez said it is premature to speculate if the suspension of the writ is justified or not.
“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.
However, Alvarez stressed that if the President orders the suspension of the writ Congress will maintain its independence in assessing the need for such declaration.
The Constitution provides that “Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension” or extend such suspension beyond the 60 day limit if the situation warrants it.
“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 Malacanang,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez declined to comment when asked if he personally believes there is factual basis for the suspension of the writ.
“Hindi namin trabaho yan, trabaho ng Presidente yan dahil siya ang head ng Executive branch. Ngayon kung inaakala niyang in his own discernment noong problema kinakailangan niyan, nasa sa kanyang option yun,” he said.
Under the Constitution, the President may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law for a period not exceeding 60 days “in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it.”
Within 48 hour from the proclamation of martial law or suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President is required to submit a report in person or in writing to Congress.
Likewise, the Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ. ####

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