When can the President suspend the privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus?

habeas-corpusWhile delivering a speech in one event in Davao City some days ago, President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

This is, he warned, if the state of lawlessness, particularly the problem on illegal drugs, continues in the country.

Writ of Habeas Corpus

The court in general issues the writ of habeas corpus to order the person detaining another to produce the body of the person detained at a designated time and place and for him to show that the detention is legal.

1987 Constitution

But does the 1987 Constitution even allow the President to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus? Yes.

If this is so, does it allow him to suspend it in all cases? No.

In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it

Then when can he suspend it? Only in case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it.

But you need to remember that invasion or rebellion alone is not enough.

Why? Because it is also essential that the public safety requires it.

This means the President can suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus only if there is either invasion or rebellion plus the public safety requires it.

If the public safety does not require it, he cannot suspend it even when there is a clear case of invasion or rebellion.

But what if there is neither invasion nor rebellion and yet it is shown that the public safety requires it. Can the President suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus? No.

Why? Because our constitution is clear in that without invasion or rebellion, he cannot suspend it even when the public safety requires it.

[Reference: Article VII (Executive Department), Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution, Rule 102 of the Rules of Court, and rappler.com]

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