PHOTO BY OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
VICE-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo Ms. Robredo expressed her disappointment over the president’s threat to suspend the writ of habeas corpus and declare a “revolutionary war,” and said she is ready to take his place if need be.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Thursday threatened to suspend the writ of habeas corpus after critics cautioned him over his order for a review of all government contracts. The president then followed this up with a warning that he would declare a “revolutionary war” which would last until his term ends in 2022.
Speaking at the the Annual Convention of the Prosecutor’s League of the Philippines on April 4 in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, he said “Pero ’pag ako ang pinaabot niyo ng sagad, I will declare a suspension of writ of habeas corpus and I will arrest all of you. Isama ko kayo sa mga kriminal, rebelde, pati dorogista. (If you push me to my limit, I will declare a suspension of writ of habeas corpus and I will arrest all of you. I will put you together with the criminals, rebels, and drug lords.)
“Pahirapan mo ako, I will declare a revolutionary war until the end of my term. (If you give me a hard time, I will declare a a revolutionary war until the end of my term),” he continued.
Ms. Robredo expressed her disappointment over the president’s remarks during the Ahon Laylayan Koalisyon Launch in Bohol on Friday. She said to reporters, “Iyong pagdeklara ng Pangulo ng revolutionary government, medyo nagulat ako dahil abogado siya, at alam niya na labag ito sa Konstitusyon…. Kaming dalawa, pareho kaming nanumpa na ipagtatanggol namin ang Konstitusyon ng Republika ng Pilipinas (When the President said he would declare a revolutionary government, I was surprised because he is a lawyer and he knows it is a violation of the Constitution. Both of us have sworn to protect the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines).”
This wasn’t the first time Mr. Duterte said that he would suspend the writ of habeas corpus. The former Davao mayor made similar statements in 2016 saying this is a way to address persistent crime in the country, particularly drug-related crimes.
Habeas corpus is a recourse in law through which a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment to a court.
Ms. Robredo stressed that Mr. Duterte’s actions that appeal to public fear is irresponsible on his part.
“Maraming kahirapan, maraming mga frustrations, pero iyong pagsagot sa mga pagsubok at kahirapan, dapat within constitutional means… Hindi puwedeng dahil, parang, nag-alburoto ka, parang tatakutin iyong taumbayan sa isang paraan na hindi constitutional (There are so many difficulties, many frustrations, but you answer the trials and difficulties within constitutional means… you cannot, just because you are outraged, scare the people in a way that is unconstitutional),” she said.
Reacting to Senatorial bet Romulo B. Macalintal, who said that Ms. Robredo would automatically become president if Mr. Duterte pursued setting up a revolutionary government, Ms. Robredo says she is ready to take the role.
“Iyong lahat naman na kumakandidato na pangalawang pangulo, dapat ready na, ready sa ganiyang eventuality, kasi iyon naman iyong mandato ng opisina… mayroong ganiyang dapat na klaseng paghahanda, dahil iyon naman ang mandato ng aming opisina (Everyone who is a candidate for vice-president, they should be ready for that eventuality because that is the mandate of our office… there should be that kind of preparation because that is the mandate of our office),” she stressed. — Gillian M. Cortez