By SHIELA MAE BUTLIG
FORMER agriculture undersecretary and now Cagayan de Oro mayoral candidate Jose Gabriel La Viña has declared support for President Duterte’s threat to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and declare a “revolutionary war.”
La Vina said he was keen on supporting whatever the decision the President makes, and that includes the prospects of the Chief Executive suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and declaring a “revolutionary war.”
The writ of habeas corpus protects citizens from being jailed without being brought to a court that decides whether or not they should be kept in prison.
In Palawan late last week, Duterte threatened to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, order his critics arrested, and declare a “revolutionary war” until 2022.
Reports quoted a piqued Duterte as saying, “I have enough problems with criminality, drugs, rebellion and all, pero pag ako ang pinaabot ninyo nang sagad, I will declare a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and I will arrest all of you…
“Kasama kayo sa mga rebelde, mga kriminal, pati mga durugista. Then pahirapan mo ako, I will declare a revolutionary war until the end of my term. Then pasensiyahan tayo.”
La Viña said he would always support the President but he clarified that it was not blind loyalty on his part.
“I support the President 100 percent. You know, we have always been ideologically aligned. More that friendship, ingon ana amung hunahuna,” La Vina said on Friday.
He added: “I’ve been with him… not blind loyalty or anything… pareho among huna-huna about Mindanao… ang pagdaug-daug sa Mindanao.”
La Vina said he would be behind Duterte even if he decides to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and declare a “revolutionary war.”
Presidential daughter and Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio told reporters here on Friday that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus cannot be suspended without the imprimatur of Congress based on the Constitution.
Duterte drew flak for making such a threat that even his own Justice secretary, Menardo Guevarra, said he thinks the pronouncement was a result of the President’s “exasperation.” He said Duterte, being a lawyer, knows the limitations of his powers.
But Duterte’s former police chief, senatorial candidate Ronald dela Rosa, said the President could make good his threat.
“Posible nga iyang buhaton na kung makita n’ya that that is his only available option,”dela Rosa told reporters here on Friday. “Kung gusto nya gamiton na nga option, then it’s his decision. Discretion n’ya yan as the Chief Executive. So, tan-aw nya nga wa nay laing paagi mao nalang ni, then buhaton n’ya na,” he said.
But another senatorial candidate, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, disagreed. She said Duterte, being a lawyer, would do no such thing.
“Napipikon na lang talaga kasi lahat na lang pinapansin. Siguro mainit na ang ulo n’ya kasi lahat na lang napapansin. Naiintindihan ko s’ya kasi ako din napipikon din sa mga ganyan-ganyan,” Marcos said.
The human rights watchdog Karapatan lashed out at the President, calling him a “bully” for making the threat.
In a statement sent to this paper, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said the threat was made “in the face of glaring failures in [Duterte’s] flagship fascist policies, allegations on the complicity of the government in the illegal drug trade, exposed onerous deals with China and embarrassing handling of the West Philippine Sea issue, and escalating human rights violations….”
Palabay said Duterte would cropply fundamental democratic rights if he makes good his threat although “it is important to emphasize that he has run after his critics even without suspending the [privilege of the] writ of habeas corpus.”
Karapatan said the threat only showed that “Duterte thinks he is above the law after putting in place a submissive supermajority in Congress and in the Supreme Court.”
“He thinks he can pass, railroad, and get away with anti-people policies after installing militarists in his Cabinet and bootlickers in his government.”
Reads part of the Karapatan statement: “Our human rights are not subject to his personal whims, interests and lunacy. From what we have seen, we cannot expect anything revolutionary from the Duterte government. What is more plausible is the intensified onslaught of killings and human rights violations to stifle dissent and to bury the crimes perpetrated by this government.”