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Malacañang has shot down speculations that President Duterte was moving to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus in the wake of recent security-related incidents in the country.
The President still trusts the Philippine National Police to do its job of keeping peace and order without having to employ such executive power, according to Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar.
“President Duterte finds no compelling reason to suspend the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus at this point. As a strong advocate of the rule of law, he is fully aware of the limits of presidential powers,” Andanar said.
“The Commander-in-Chief trusts the capability and competence of Philippine National Police head General Ronald de la Rosa to maintain law and order and to serve and protect the citizenry,” he added.
Andanar said the President believes Dela Rosa is “up to the job and can handle any untoward incident and the over-all situation very well.”
“Given this, President Duterte believes any intervention at his level is unnecessary,” he added.
Government troops have launched operations against the Maute Group reportedly linked to the Islamic State in Mindanao. Several members of the extremist group were reportedly killed in clashes with soldiers in Lanao del Sur.
Amid the firefight in the South, an Improvised Explosive Device was found near the United States Embassy yesterday.
The bomb was safely detonated by the police.
In light of concerns raised by some groups, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella assured the public that these security issues are being handled by the authorities.
“The reaction of opposition lawmakers that the discovery of IED (improvised explosive device) near the US Embassy along with movement of the Maute Group may be laying a foundation for the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus is reading too much into the situation,” Abella said. “The suspicious circumstances are already being investigated by government security forces,” Abella added.
Early this month, Duterte threatened to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, a legal safeguard against warrantless arrests and illegal detention, if lawlessness escalates in the country.
Duterte said he was ready to employ such executive power amid the raging rebellion waged by the Maute terror group in Mindanao as well as the widespread drug operations in the country. He claimed that building cases against lawless elements might take too much time and resources. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)