ALTHOUGH the country is still officially under a state of lawless violence declared in September after the Davao City night market bombing, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to suspend the writ of habeas corpus if violence in Mindanao does not stop.
“There is a rebellion being waged down in Mindanao and if this lawlessness continues to spread, I might be forced to,” Duterte said at the launch of Pilipinong May Puso Foundation which was created as a memorial to her activist-mother Soledad “Nanay Soleng” Roa-Duterte.
“I don’t want to, I don’t want to,” Duterte said. “I am just warning them. If you force me, I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus.”
It was not clear who Duterte was referring to but he made the remark after he arrived from an unannounced trip from “the mountains” where he was slowed down by rain.
“I am very, very late because I had to go to a place where we had a hard time going down. It was raining very hard in the mountains and we could not make it on time,” he said at the start of his speech.
Duterte stressed that he would suspend the writ only if he has no other remedy and repeated his earlier assurance that he did not intend to declare martial law.
“Not martial law because I have no political plans. It’s only because I have no remedy,’’ he told his audience which included former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“I will declare a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. I will pick them all up. I’ll bring them to Samar and I will dig a hole in the middle of Samar so they are all together,” Duterte said without explaining what he meant.
After the launch, Duterte attended the wake of his friends, Judge Dory Avisado and engineer Apolinar Gaite, at a Davao City funeral home around dawn Saturday.
Last Sept. 5, Duterte declared the country under a state of lawless violence based on Article VII Section 18 of the Constitution which empowers him to “call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion” if necessary.
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