CEBU CITY -- Last November 11, President Rodrigo Duterte said he might suspend the writ of habeas corpus to strengthen the war on drugs and supress lawlessness in Mindanao.
But what is writ of habeas corpus?
Habeas corpus is a latin phrase that literally means "produce the body." A writ of habeas corpus is an order or a summon applied for by the prisoner or by somebody on his or her behalf, and is addressed to the person, agency, or prison holding the prisoner.
It is used to establish whether the state has the authority to detain the prisoner in question.
Without the writ of habeas corpus, the government would essentially have the right to imprison citizens without charging or bringing them to trial for indefinite periods of time.
Suspension of the privilege writ of habeas corpus
Under the 1987 Constitution, the President may, for a period not exceeding 60 days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law in case of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it.
In 1950, former President Elpidio Quirino suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus to fight communists threat after the American occupation.
Former President Ferdinand Marcos also suspended the privilege after the Plaza Miranda bombing in Manila.
In 2009, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo suspended the writ in Maguindanao after the death of 58 people, including journalists, in an election-related massacre. (Sunnex)
Sources: Black's Law Dictionary, 1987 Philippine Constitution, Gov.ph