Statement on Senator Richard Gordon’s proposal to grant President Duterte power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus

Senator Richard Gordon (photo from ABS-CBN News)

The proposal of Senator Gordon to grant power to President Duterte to suspend the writ of habeas corpus is patently unconstitutional. Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Constitution states that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus can only be suspended by the President by reason of invasion or rebellion, and subject to legal and judicial challenge on legal and factual basis.

The writ of habeas corpus has been, and still remains, the best guarantee for the right to liberty. Even in the fight against terror, the United States Supreme Court said it cannot be denied without a counterpart guarantee.

Suspending the writ of habeas corpus and revoking civil liberties is a slippery and dangerous path to Martial Law. And as no such invasion or rebellion has occurred, there is no legal standing for the President to suspend the writ.

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