To stop drug menace, rebellion in Mindanao
MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte has expressed plans to suspend the writ of habeas corpus to strengthen his anti-drug campaign and suppress “rebellion” in Mindanao.
A writ of habeas corpus, which literally means to “produce the body,” is an order to deliver an imprisoned individual to a court.
Duterte said he wanted to take all drug pushers off the streets and have the last drug lord killed during his term.
“If you do not give me a choice, and then you box me in a corner and I find myself helpless… Those are really provisions intended to protect the Republic of the Philippines,” Duterte said in a speech on Friday night in Davao City where the Pilipinong May Puso Foundation Inc. was launched to mark the 100th birth anniversary of his mother Soledad.
He said the writ suspension would also be in response to the ongoing rebellion “being waged now in Mindanao.”
The President did not elaborate but mentioned in passing the Maute gang, an armed Islamist group composed of former Moro Islamic Liberation Front guerrillas and some foreign fighters led by Abdullah Maute, the alleged founder of a Dawlah Islamiya, or Islamic state based in Lanao del Sur, as one of those sowing trouble in Mindanao.
Last September, Duterte issued Proclamation Order 55, which placed the entire country under a state of emergency due to lawless violence after the bomb attack in Davao City that left 15 dead.
He also tapped the military and the police in the implementation of measures in relation to maintenance of peace and order nationwide.
Present during the event were some members of the business community, including Ramon Ang of San Miguel, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara and former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who also placed the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) under a state of rebellion during her term.
The police were then empowered to arrest without warrant personalities believed to be behind the rebellion in ARMM.
“If the lawlessness will spread, I might be forced to… I don’t want it. This is my warning to them. I don’t want it because it is not good. But if you force my hand… I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. Not martial law,” Duterte said.
Duterte said he was empowered by the Charter to do so, referring to Article III Section 15 of the 1987 Constitution, which states that: “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except in cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it.”
In saying that he would not be declaring martial law, Duterte explained this was because he did not have any plans to perpetuate himself in power. “I don’t have political plans. But I will (suspend the writ of habeas corpus) if I have no remedy. I cannot issue an order without valid… I have to build a case one by one,” he said.
“I will pick them all up. I will bring them to Samal. I will drill a hole in the middle of Samal so that it will submerge, including all of them,” he said, referring to the island-garden tourist haven off Davao City.
But Duterte recognized that he could be stopped by the Supreme Court. He will pursue his plans, though, if necessary.
“…but there are things which they (SC) cannot… maybe I will not stop,” he said. “I can say, I will finish this then I can go to jail and file all the charges that you can think of. But this country, in my time, will not deteriorate any further.”
Duterte also expressed disappointment over how the country was slowly becoming a narco-state. He also hit the United States anew for meddling in his anti-drug policy, which has been marred by summary executions.
He likewise said he would not mind if his presidency would be cut short – either by impeachment or assassination – as long as “I was trying my best to do something for my country.”
“That’s it. I don’t need the praises or everything,” Duterte said.
“If they want to impeach me, go ahead, be my guest. If they kill me, the better then I can rest earlier. I will not back out from this,” he said, referring to his efforts to stop drugs.
“…for as long as the problem is there, as long as there is a pusher on the street, as long as there are drug lords who are doing it, and alive… this thing will continue until the end of my term. When? I don’t know,” the President said.
Duterte admitted that his campaign had also been affected by perception – perpetuated by groups who failed to understand the context of his hard stance against illegal drugs.
“Mine, it’s self-defense, in defense of the helpless children. It is in defense of a race. It is in defense of my fellowmen,” he said.
Duterte said the Philippine situation was reflected in the book of author Ioan Grillo, who wrote about the drug cartel in South America.
“As long as it’s there, I will never (wane)… magkapatayan na tayo kung magpatayan (let’s fight to the death if needed),” he said.
Rody ready to go to jail for Leyte raid cops — But Details of Police Killing of Prisoners Inside Jail Remain Murky
MANILA, Philippines – “If they go to prison, so will I. That’s it.”
President Duterte yesterday maintained he would not abandon the policemen and is willing to go to prison with them if they are found guilty of killing Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa in cold blood.
“I would insist that the version of the police in the killing of Mayor Espinosa is the correct version insofar as I am concerned. And I will not, I will not abandon them,” Duterte told the gathering of businessmen and government officials at the launching of the Pilipinong May Puso Foundation Inc. on Friday.
Even if the Senate is keen on finding evidence that would pin the policemen on a possible rubout, Duterte said he would side with the lawmen.
Espinosa was killed in his cell in the provincial jail in Baybay City in the early hours of Nov. 5 after he allegedly tried to shoot it out with lawmen from the regional Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) who were serving a search warrant.
Another inmate, Raul Yap, who was accused of drug trafficking, was also killed in an adjacent cell.
Senators concluded the killing of Espinosa and Yap was premeditated, citing the inconsistencies of the reports made by the CIDG during last Thursday’s hearing on the incident.
Duterte stressed he is ready to take full legal responsibility. “Natural, utos ko yun eh (Of course, I ordered it),” he said.
Lawmakers had warned Duterte about condoning summary executions when he took full responsibility for the killing.
The Supreme Court, on the other hand, took the initiative to investigate two judges involved in Espinosa’s case.
The SC magistrates in full session on Friday tasked the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to look into the possible lapses committed by Judge Carlos Arguelles, of Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 14 of Baybay, Leyte; and Judge Tarcelo Sabarre Jr., of RTC Branch 30 of Basey, Samar.
The SC received preliminary information that Espinosa had filed a motion asking for a transfer from the sub-provincial jail in Baybay City to another detention facility.
The motion was submitted for resolution but Arguelles had not yet issued a decision.
On Nov. 4, the CIDG filed two applications for search warrants before Sabarre to search the detention cells of Espinosa and Yap.
Sabarre issued the search warrants to the CIDG, which used them to enter the Baybay City jail where Espinosa and Yap were later killed during a supposed shootout with the lawmen serving the warrant.
The SC gave OCA five days to verify the information and submit its report.
Sabarre earlier maintained there was nothing irregular in the issuance of the search warrant for the CIDG.
Sabarre said he went to question the two witnesses presented by the CIDG during the two-hour hearing in the application for search warrant.
He said he complied with all the requirements for the issuance of the warrant under the law. – Christina Mendez, Evelyn Macairan, Miriam Desacada
Tags: Abdullah Maute, arrest without warrant, Dawlah Islamiya, drug menace, drug war, Duterte, Espinosa, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Islamic state, Lanao del Sur, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, martial law, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, police killing, Police Killing Inside Jail, Police Killing of Prisoners Inside Jail, rebellion “being waged now in Mindanao.”, rebellion in Mindanao, Summary executions, supreme court, suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, war on drugs