SEVERAL senators expressed their disagreement on President Rodrigo Duterte’s idea to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus as a response to the country's "worsening" drug problem and lawlessness.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said Monday, November 14, that such proposal would only lead to abuse.
Hontiveros also said that the suspension of the writ would contribute to the growing climate of impunity brought about by the thousands of unresolved extrajudicial killings.
"It only adds to the fear and anxiety of the public," Hontiveros said.
She said the privilege of the writ grants a person the right to report or question an unlawful detention or imprisonment before a court. She said that during the Marcos regime, the suspension of the privilege of the writ led to arbitrary arrests of members of the political opposition and citizens.
Hontiveros said the idea of suspending the writ of habeas corpus is by itself dangerous, adding it can be the "the seed of undemocratic rule similar to the Marcos dictatorship."
"The President must learn to trust our democratic processes. Proper law enforcement and standing behind the protection of human rights and observance of the rule of law are the best methods to ensure public safety," Hontiveros said.
Earlier, Liberal Party senators were one in opposing the "idea" of the President to suspend the writ.
In a statement Sunday, November 13, Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino and Leila de Lima said there is no concrete ground for Duterte to do so.
In one of his speeches, Duterte reportedly warned that if he is forced to, he might declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus "but not Martial Law."
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara also cautioned incumbent officials to be careful when talking about the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.
“The safeguards of the 1987 Constitution on the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus are there because of (officials’) abuse/misuse decades ago,” Angara said.
Senator Francis Chiz Escudero also said that broaching the idea of suspending the writ of habeas corpus scares the public that Martial Law and its abuses will begin to return to the country. (Sunnex)