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Habeas suspension called scare tactic vs lawless groups

Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II yesterday called President Duterte’s plan to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus as a scare tactic against illegal drugs and rebellion in Mindanao.

“Nananakot siguro, ganyan naman si Presidente,” said Aguirre. “That’s how the President works, yang mga hyperbole pero wala naman siyang balak na gawin,” he assured.

Aguirre noted that Duterte might only be “thinking out loud katulad ng ginawa niya sa war against drugs kung saan sinabi nya ’yung kanyang gagawin kung sakaling hindi kayo huminto sa ilegal na droga at ganyan din siguro ang ina-apply niya sa suspension ng Writ of Habeas Corpus.”

Aguirre said Duterte is a lawyer and “aware that he cannot just declare such suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus just because of state of lawlessness.”

“There has to be either actual rebellion or invasion of the country,” he said.

The head of the coalition of at least 50 party-list congressmen in the House of Representatives yesterday assured the public that the chamber will not be a stamp pad of the Duterte government that plans to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus, saying that the alleged drug abuse crisis cannot be used as basis for such presidential declaration.

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe said he may support Duterte’s plans if the effects of the declaration will be limited locally or areas that are affected by rebellion or invasion, and not the entire country.

The President is considering suspending the the Writ of Habeas Corpus if lawlessness continues to spread in the country. (With a report from Ben R. Rosario) (JEFFREY DAMICOG)