Vice President Leni G. Robredo said yesterday that President Duterte should only suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus in case of invasion or rebellion but not against lawlessness and illegal drugs in the country.
Robredo told reporters at the groundbreaking of a relocation site in Quezon City that lawless violence and alleged widespread illegal drug operations in the country are not valid reasons for the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.
“The Constitution is clear on the grounds when it should be declared. These are invasion and rebellion when public safety requires,” she said.
However, Robredo still recognizes the power of the President to make such declaration.
Robredo, a lawyer, was not immediately reached for reaction last weekend on Duterte’s remarks that he may be forced to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus if lawlessness persists. But she answered the issue in yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony.
The former Bicolana lawmaker said she doesn’t see the need to suspend the writ now.
“Now there is no such situation,” she said. “We don’t know later, but I hope we don’t reach that situation.”
The Vice President noted that the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus is an “extraordinary remedy.”
“Hindi siya dapat ginagamit na basta basta, gagamitin lang siya pag kailangan na talaga, pero sabi ko nga, klaro naman ang Konstitusyon ng grounds kung kailan pwede itong ideklara,” she said.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a key ally of Duterte, is letting the Chief Executive decide on the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus.
In a TV interview yesterday morning, Alvarez said that suspending of the Writ of Habeas Corpus as per the Constitution is entirely an Executive function.
“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 said.
(Raymund F. Antonio and Ellson A. Quismorio)