Duterte threatens warrantless arrests


PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, a move that would allow warrantless arrests, if illegal drugs and terrorism spread across the country.

In a speech in Davao City on Friday night, Duterte said he was considering suspending the writ as it is among the constitutional provisions “intended to protect the Republic of the Philippines.”

“If lawlessness spreads, I might be forced to — I don’t want, it’s a warning but I don’t want to do it because it doesn’t look good – but if you force my hand into it, I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus,” he said at the launching of Pilipinong May Puso Foundation Inc.

In September, Duterte placed the country in a “State of Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao” following the blast in a night market in his home city of Davao that killed 15 people.

‘No martial law’
But the President quickly made it clear he would not place the country under martial rule.

“I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, not martial law. I have no intention to play politics,” Duterte said.

The President said he had “no remedy” to the drug and terrorism problems, citing the attacks waged in Mindanao by the Maute terror group, which was tagged in the September 2 Davao City blast.

“I will declare a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, I will pick them all up. I will bring them to Samal Island. I will open up Samal Island in the middle so they sink with it,” Duterte said in a mix of English and Filipino. “They choose. It’s true. If you don’t give me a choice then you box me in a corner and I find myself helpless.”

If the Supreme Court blocks the suspension of the writ, the President said he would remain undeterred.

“Those are really provisions intended to protect the Republic of the Philippines. I can be ordered by the Supreme Court to stop it but there are things that they cannot, and maybe, I will not, stop,” Duterte said.

“I’ll tell them I will finish this first then I can go to jail. File all the charges that you can think of. But this country, in my time, will not deteriorate any further,” he added.

The writ of habeas corpus refers to the power of the courts to require the state to produce a person in custody.

Under the Constitution, the suspension of the privilege of the writ is only allowed with respect to “persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion.”

Once suspended, authorities will have the power to arrest anyone without a warrant. It also allows prolonged periods of detention without charges.


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  1. welcome back into the dark ages once again. damn we never ever learn at all is this the kind of so called leader we want? you bet the damn 16.6 Mn likes him so much like a fly likes excrement. back to square one, nope we never left square one, we are forever stuck on square one. and then he plays hockey pokey with the undesirables of society the likes of NPAs, MILF, and that Miswari dude and tells us peace in our time.

    • This nation is rotten. No wonder there is widespread poverty. Even it’s billion of dollars given not loaned coming from the US’, the people are still very poor. These coming days will usher in more bad news. With Trump elected president, devalue of the peso , losses in stock market, one of the highest in electric, tell me, who would want to invest in this stupid place ?

  2. Ignacio Balbutin on

    suspension of the writ of habeas corpus is nothing but Martial law, if you do it then you can surely be assured of oppostion from all sectors of society including the senate, congress and even the military. This is the surest and fastest way of your downfall Mr. President

  3. There is no easy way to remove the gangsters of the drug trade or the terrorists in the south. There is no rehabilitation possible. They will not end up selling fruits on the street corner. The are violent, desperate and lawless. Killing them is the only way. The Philippines cannot afford American style justice for these desperado’s. Yes, some innocents will die and some have died already. Not all at the hands of the police or the bounty hunters. Many die in the prison of the drug trade itself. They can’t pay and are hunted down as examples for other addicts to see. They are the dead bodies on the street. Talk of Martial Law has been in the air for sometime now. I, as a casual visitor, without any prompting on the issue, heard Philippinos comment on how comparatively safe they felt in the Marcos years. They liked having the gangsters on the run and shared none of the angst we hear in this paper about the burial of Marcos. What has all that self inflicted misery accomplished? He’s been dead for decades. Bury him and get on with it.

  4. jose b. taganahan on

    After failing to fulfill his campaign promises to get of drugs, corruption and other forms of criminality with in 100 days of his presidency, President Duterte is now threatening to suspend the writ of habeas corpus of Filipinos, 90 percent of whom is supporting him according to surveys.

  5. Mr President, do what you have to do!!! First try to get rid of those in the judiciary that where appointed by the abnoy President laway Aquino. Notice how only the yellow appointed Justices voted against Pres. Marcos burial? These judges are clearly Aquino’s Cur including tandang Conchita the Onbudsman. Find a way to sack them just like Abnoy did to his foe’s.

  6. Suspending writ of habeas corpus is identical to declaring martial law. I hope he will declare martial law because this is the easiest way for him to be remove from office. This guy has installed fear in all of us that now I am 100 percent positive that this guy is a lunatic. I dare Duterte to suspend writ of Habeas Corpus.

    • Beg your pardon mate, you are the one who is a lunatic, PRRD is wise man because of his age, he can’t afford doing foolish moves like you young man full of abominable thoughts. Remember you cannot put down a good wise man.

  7. Yonkers, New York
    12 November 2015

    After long and sustained criticism by local human rights groups including the mass and social media in the Philippines and abroad of his WARRANTLESS genocidal extrajudicial killing of Filipinos SUSPECTED of being involved in the illegal drug problem, at last Little Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte thinks has found a legal way to do it–and that is TO SUSPEND THE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS!

    He must truly believe that with the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus he can go ahead unimpeded legally with his mass killing of his own countrymen, a lawless and brutal drive which has already netted for him some 4,000 hapless victims. As the whole world must now know, his target is 3 million!

    Rodrigo Duterte is a PSYCHOTIC mass killer–but he is no fool. He must know that he has plunged the Philippines into a REIGN OF TERROR.