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RODY NOW TO INK PARIS CLIMATE PACT AFTER A DEBATE WITH CABINET
[RELATED: WATCH VIDEO IN MALAYSIA DU30 AND MALAYSIAN PM SING KARAOAKE]


NOVEMBER 8 -Bowing to the will of his Cabinet, President Duterte has changed his mind and is now ready to sign the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. PPD/Ace Morandante, file Bowing to the will of his Cabinet, President Duterte has changed his mind and is now ready to sign the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. Duterte acceded to the near-unanimous position of his Cabinet after discussing the merits of the Paris agreement, its impact on the economy, how the Philippines could access the multibillion-dollar Green Fund and other related matters. “After so much debate, I will now sign the climate change (agreement), because (of the) unanimous vote except for one or two. And I am the other one,” Duterte said yesterday. READ MORE...ALSO WATCH VIDEO IN MALAYSIA DU30 AND MALAYSIAN PM SING KARAOAKE...

ALSO: Rody wants shelters for Yolanda victims finished by yearend
[VIDEO: Duterte teased Leni
about her relationship status, while also implying he was a viable option for the widow.]


NOVEMBER 8 -President Duterte is joined by relatives of Yolanda victims during a wreath-laying ceremony at a mass grave in Tacloban City yesterday. The President vowed to complete the distribution of permanent shelters to families hit by the super typhoon by yearend. KRIZJOHN ROSALES
MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte yesterday ordered his officials to complete the distribution of shelters to families hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda by yearend as he is not satisfied with the help given to typhoon victims. Duterte lamented that only a few people are staying in the bunk houses provided by the government three years after the typhoon ravaged the country. “I am not satisfied. As a matter of fact, it’s BS (b***s***) to me,” Duterte said during the commemoration of the third anniversary of Yolanda in Tacloban City. “I’ll be back here in December. I want all of them transferred to the bunk houses by December,” he added. READ MORE...

AFTER DUTERTE’S ‘OGLING’ REMARK VP Robredo: No place for improper comments vs. women
[RELATED: Duterte defends comments about VP Leni Robredo's legs: 'What's so special about the body of a woman?']


NOVEMBER 9 -Although she said she has already learned to ignore President Rodrigo Duterte's inappropriate jokes, Vice President Leni Robredo insisted Wednesday that the country's leaders, most of all, should not make "tasteless remarks" about women.
Robredo said this after being the subject of President Duterte's inappropriate remarks at a program in Tacloban City in Leyte for the third annual commemoration of the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda. In his speech, Duterte asked the Vice President if she has a boyfriend, then joked that if it were true, he would have to kill a congressman to make her a widow anew. Towards the end of his speech, he then admitted to ogling at Robredo's legs during a Cabinet meeting, saying her dress was "too short."  In an interview after the event, Robredo said she was getting used to being the President's "pulutan" or a subject of his jokes. READ MORE... RELATED, Duterte defends comments about VP Leni Robredo's legs: 'What's so special about the body of a woman?'...

ALSO: After 'snubbing' Kris at Go Negosyo event, Rody attends late mother’s foundation launch


NOVEMEBR 12 -Go Negosyo founder and presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion is shown with TV host Kris Aquino during the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Summit 2016 in Davao City on Friday.
Not even a busy schedule or a throbbing migraine could prevent President Duterte from commemorating the 100th birth anniversary of his late mother, Soledad or Nanay Soleng, in Davao City Friday night. Although still suffering from migraine, which prompted him to skip his much touted one-on-one with show biz star Kris Aquino – youngest sister of former president Benigno Aquino III – Duterte managed to attend the launching of the Pilipinong May Puso Foundation Inc. in honor of the humanitarian efforts of his mother at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao at 9 p.m. In the same event, Duterte administered the oath to Rowena Velasco as chairman of the foundation. “I was not expecting a crowd, that’s why I came in a t-shirt. I am very, very late because I came from a high place where it was very hard to come down,” Duterte said. READ MORE...

ALSO Duterte: I may be forced to suspend writ of habeas corpus
[RELATED JOINT STATEMENTS FROM LP SENATORS: No basis to suspend writ – lawmakers]


NOVEMBER 13 -President Rodrigo Duterte said that suspending the writ will be necessary if he thinks he's "helpless" to protect the country. Malacanang file photo
President Rodrigo Duterte said he may be forced to declare a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus if lawlessness in Mindanao worsens.
In a speech at the launching of the Pilipinong May Puso Foundation in Davao City on Friday, Duterte said a rebellion in Mindanao is ongoing and, if it gets out of control, he would consider suspending the writ of habeas corpus so he can start "picking up" those responsible for the disorder. "At kung magkalat itong still lawlessness, I might be forced to — ayaw ko, ayaw ko. Warning ko lang sa kanila 'yan, ayaw ko kasi hindi maganda. But if you force my hand into it, I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, not martial law. Wala akong balak sa pulitika. But I will kasi wala akong remedy," Duterte said. (If the lawlessness spreads, I might be forced to — I don't want to, I don't want to. I'm just warning them, but I don't want to do it because it's not good. It's not political, but I will do it because I have no remedy for it.)
"I cannot issue an order without a valid . . . I have to build a case one by one." READ MORE...RELATED,
 JOINT STATEMENTS FROM LP SENATORS: No basis to suspend writ – lawmakers...


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Rody to ink Paris climate pact

MANILA, NOVEMBER 14, 2016 (PHILSTAR) By Christina Mendez and Pia Lee-Brago November 8, 2016 - Bowing to the will of his Cabinet, President Duterte has changed his mind and is now ready to sign the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Duterte acceded to the near-unanimous position of his Cabinet after discussing the merits of the Paris agreement, its impact on the economy, how the Philippines could access the multibillion-dollar Green Fund and other related matters.

“After so much debate, I will now sign the climate change (agreement), because (of the) unanimous vote except for one or two. And I am the other one,” Duterte said yesterday.

READ MORE...

Speaking during the signing of an executive order that expands the composition of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in Malacañang, Duterte said he needed to thresh out matters with his official family.
“For me, because it’s a Cabinet decision, I’ll go along with it and sign it. As I have promised you, I will not solve this problem alone. I will give it, place it on the table, give the Cabinet members, the whole of the Cabinet, to vote,” Duterte said.

“Right now, I am not really comfortable with it. Of course, we are now bound if we sign it. But in matters of enforcement, if they say it’s a binding treaty, there has to be a sanction. So otherwise if you don’t, there’s something coming up your way,” the President said.

In his previous speeches, Duterte said he was not ready to accede to the agreement because it would limit, if not impede, the country’s industrial and economic development.

He also blamed developed countries for contributing heavily to the damage on the environment, which led to rising climate levels.

“The problem is, read again and again and then you’ll find that there is sanction. Even in the matter of contributing the money to a common fund,” he added.

The Paris agreement took effect last week. The Philippines has been a proponent under the previous Aquino administration but the Palace has yet to submit the agreement to the Senate for ratification.

Duterte again raised his concerns over the apparent lopsided provisions on sanctioning countries that violate the agreement.

The 2015 Climate Change agreement sets a goal of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

The agreement calls for zero net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions to be reached during the second half of the 21st century.

If the Philippines ratifies the Paris agreement, proponents said it will help the country in adaptation efforts.

At the same time, it would give the Philippines, as a vulnerable developing nation, access to the $100-billion Green Climate Fund.

Duterte said the Green Fund is not an outright payment for damages.

“For after all, ang hinihingi lang nila sa atin is 0.3. With China about 24 carbon emissions, footprints,” he noted.

Duterte also questioned why the Philippine Congress passed a law, where the country has to reduce by 70 percent carbon emission when there is much lower target under the Paris Agreement.

“Tayo 0.3 lang ang hinihingi nila sa atin. But ang national law natin says that over the years, we will have to reduce it by 70, if I’m not mistaken. Hindi na kaya, sobra nga eh,” he said.

Duterte said he discussed the matter extensively with members of the Cabinet during a meeting last week.

US pressure Taking potshots anew at the United States, the President expressed apprehension over how countries such as the Philippines would be at a disadvantage in terms of enforcement of sanctions.

“So, that if it is a low country in terms of economic level, the big ones will always force upon you to do it. But if it is the highly industrialized countries, there’s nothing you can do about it because the sanctions… cannot be done by the smaller nations, let alone without the powers of pressure,” he said.

“The name of the game is pressure,” Duterte said.

Reading from the provisions of the agreement, Duterte said acceding to the agreement does not give the country automatic access to the Green Fund.

“The other thing is, they get the money. Now remember, contrary to popular belief, we read the contract word for word, ‘the fund to be culled from rich industrial countries’, only up to that point,” the President said.

While the Paris Agreement gave clear pathways and a final destination in respect to decisive action on climate change, the UN said many of the details regarding how to move forward as one global community still need to be resolved.

The UN said this is a moment of celebration but also a moment of reflection on the task ahead and a point where governments recommit to the new agenda of rapid implementation, not least in pressing forward with adequate support for vulnerable countries to take their own action.

WHUIL IN MALAYSIA WATCH PRESIENTIAL PARTY TIME WITH MALAYSIA PM

 
https://youtu.be/t-ZgeZO5BF8?t=27

Party time! Philippine leader Duterte, Malaysian PM Najib show off karaoke skills RT RT Subscribe1,955,129 Published on Nov 11, 2016 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak show off their karaoke skills at a state dinner in the Malaysian city of Putrajaya on Thursday.

Duterte sang Bette Midler's ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ while Najib chose Cliff Richard's ‘The Young Ones’. Duterte & Najib also sang in duet performing ‘Sha-La-La-La-La-La’ by The Walkers.

RT LIVE http://rt.com/on-air


PHILSTAR

Rody wants shelters for Yolanda victims finished by yearend By Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 9, 2016 - 12:00am 0 99 googleplus0 0


President Duterte is joined by relatives of Yolanda victims during a wreath-laying ceremony at a mass grave in Tacloban City yesterday. The President vowed to complete the distribution of permanent shelters to families hit by the super typhoon by yearend. KRIZJOHN ROSALES

MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte yesterday ordered his officials to complete the distribution of shelters to families hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda by yearend as he is not satisfied with the help given to typhoon victims.

Duterte lamented that only a few people are staying in the bunk houses provided by the government three years after the typhoon ravaged the country.

“I am not satisfied. As a matter of fact, it’s BS (b***s***) to me,” Duterte said during the commemoration of the third anniversary of Yolanda in Tacloban City.

“I’ll be back here in December. I want all of them transferred to the bunk houses by December,” he added.

READ MORE...

Duterte directed presidential assistant for the Visayas Michael Dino and Vice President and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chair Leni Robredo to oversee the distribution of the shelters.

“You know, I rarely shoot people, especially my friends. If you fail to do that…” Duterte told Dino in jest.

“In the fullness of God’s time, I will be back in December. If they are not transferred (to the shelters), get some land from Bonifacio or Forbes Park,” he added.

Duterte refused to blame the previous administration for the issues hounding the relief delivery and even apologized to the people of Tacloban for the government’s shortcomings.

“If these houses are not yet completed next month, just transform them into a crematorium. What am I supposed to say here? Three years has passed and you are just waiting for another typhoon,” Duterte said.


“We hope no one is here when that time comes so we do not have to say ‘I am sorry it has gone to this.’ Really, I am apologizing to you,” he added.

While saying that his statements were not meant to offend anybody, Duterte could not hide his displeasure with the red tape and inefficient delivery of government services.

“You know, we are so underdeveloped (as) a country. That by the nature of the listeners and indolence of some idiots, we become double the underdeveloped, whatever that phrase means,” he said.

“The Yolanda relief should have been finished one year after. I do not know where I will start. Is it really the rules, which is also to protect the money of the people? Or the people who refuse to do their jobs?”

Leni apologizes for delay Robredo yesterday apologized to the Yolanda survivors in Tanauan, Leyte for the delay in the government’s construction of permanent shelters.

Robredo said around 205,000 houses are needed for Yolanda victims, who remain in makeshift houses without power and water.

“First, I would like to apologize for the delay. There are many houses which are not yet constructed. So far, we only have relocated about 5,000 families,” Robredo said during the commemoration of Yolanda’s third anniversary yesterday.

Robredo has vowed to fast-track the building of permanent shelters in affected areas.

She said housing agencies under HUDCC have agreed to streamline the processes in constructing socialized housing.

DILG: more than half of projects completed

Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said it has completed more than half of the approved projects in relation to rehabilitation of areas affected by Yolanda.

Based on data released by DILG, 2,759 out of the 4,474 rehabilitation projects are completed. The projects are part of the Recovery Assistance on Yolanda (RAY) program, which is being implemented in three batches.

The RAY program provides support and assistance to local government units most affected by Yolanda, including the provinces of Palawan, Masbate, Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Biliran, Eastern Samar, Leyte and Samar.

By breakdown, 305 out of 308 projects in the first batch are completed. These involved the repair of provincial/city/municipal halls, public markets and civic centers, mostly in Eastern Visayas.

In the second batch, 2,458 out of 3,551 projects are completed. These involve the rehabilitation of totally and partially damaged barangay facilities such as barangay halls, barangay day care centers, barangay civic centers and the seven additional municipal facilities which were not funded under the first batch.

But only six out of 615 projects in the third batch have been finished. DILG said these cover the rehabilitation and reconstruction of water supply systems, drainage systems, transport terminals and halls of justice in Yolanda-hit provinces, as well as municipal and barangay facilities not funded under the first and second batches.

“Three years after Yolanda, we have become more vigilant, more responsible and more resilient as a people and as a nation,” said DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno.

On his message for the commemoration of Yolanda, the interior secretary stressed the importance of preparation in case of disasters.

“On the third year (since Yolanda), we hope that our local government units and other frontline agencies will take Yolanda’s lessons to heart to ensure that zero casualty scenarios will not remain a vision but a reality,” Sueno said.

“Let us imbibe the culture of preparedness and make it a way of life so that we can continue our journey to becoming a nation where every citizen leads a safe, happy and comfortable life,” he added.

NEW TASK FORCE?

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, on the other hand, proposed the creation of a new task force that will lead the rehabilitation of areas devastated by Yolanda.

Ejercito, chairman of the Senate committee on urban development, housing and resettlement, said it is not enough to have the National Economic and Development Authority at the helm of the rehabilitation and recovery program.

“We really need somebody who can effectively lead the coordination, monitoring and evaluation of all the projects, programs and activities. This is why I am proposing for the new Task Force Yolanda Rehab to be led by the Office of the President,” he said. – With Helen Flores, Janvic Mateo, Mayen Jaymalin, Paolo Romero, Evelyn Macairan, Miriam Desacada

--------------------------

RELATED VIDEO FROM ABS-CBN

DUTERTE TEASES VP ROBREDO IN TACLOBAN

 
https://youtu.be/tLScLKekBAs?t=41
President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday teased Vice President Leni Robredo about her relationship status, while also implying he was a viable option for the widow. Duterte, who is in Tacloban with Robredo for the third anniversary of Typhoon Yolanda, said he'd still have a reason to go to Leyte even without the housing projects.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

AFTER DUTERTE’S ‘OGLING’ REMARK VP Robredo: No place for improper comments vs. women Published November 9, 2016 10:42am By ROSE-AN JESSICA DIOQUINO, GMA News

Although she said she has already learned to ignore President Rodrigo Duterte's inappropriate jokes, Vice President Leni Robredo insisted Wednesday that the country's leaders, most of all, should not make "tasteless remarks" about women.

Robredo said this after being the subject of President Duterte's inappropriate remarks at a program in Tacloban City in Leyte for the third annual commemoration of the victims of supertyphoon Yolanda.

In his speech, Duterte asked the Vice President if she has a boyfriend, then joked that if it were true, he would have to kill a congressman to make her a widow anew.

Towards the end of his speech, he then admitted to ogling at Robredo's legs during a Cabinet meeting, saying her dress was "too short."

In an interview after the event, Robredo said she was getting used to being the President's "pulutan" or a subject of his jokes.

READ MORE...

Also, Robredo said she "deliberately chose to ignore" the remarks on Tuesday as there are "significant" issues at hand focus on, including the Yolanda victims and the Supreme Court decision that allows the contested burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

"But many were bothered and offended by it. As we all rightly should," she said, adding that "tasteless remarks and inappropriate advances against women should have no place in our society. We should expect that most of all from our leaders."

"I have spent many years as an 'alternative' lawyer fighting for the rights of women, myself included. That commitment will never waver," she said.

Robredo, whose victory at the May polls is being contested by former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., also said the incident "only strengthens [her] resolve to fulfill [her] mandate as the duly elected vice president."

"[I am] determined to help alleviate poverty through building homes and communities. My mission of building partnerships to uplift the lives of the Filipino family will continue with renewed vigor," she said. —LBG, GMA News

----------------------------

RELATED FROM IBTIMES.COM.UK

Duterte defends comments about VP Leni Robredo's legs: 'What's so special about the body of a woman?'  By Lara Rebello November 9, 2016 07:45 GMT

Robredo said Duterte's 'inappropriate advances against women should have no place in our society'.


Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte commented on Vice President Leni Robredo's legs during a commemorative eventREUTERS/Erik De Castro

Rodrigo Duterte has defended his comments about Vice President Leni Robredo's legs claiming the media is attempting to make an issue of it. During an event to commemorate the third anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban, the Philippines president said he and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez admired Robredo's knees when she wore a "short skirt" to one Cabinet meeting.

"It's appropriate. As a matter of fact it is good," Duterte said on 9 November as he prepared to leave for a two-day trip to Malaysia. "So what's the problem there? Why make an issue? Sexist? There goes the media again."

He explained that he mentioned Robredo's legs simply to make people laugh.

"What's so special about the body of a woman? ... Do not exact standard for me. I will do what I say and I say what I do. Those jokes like that are nothing," he added.

During the event that took place on 8 November, the president also teased Robredo onstage and asked her if she had a boyfriend adding, "if it's true, a congressman may be killed".

The vice president, a widowed mother of three daughters, tried to brush off the comments but later expressed her discomfort stating that such "tasteless remarks and inappropriate advances against women should have no place in our society."

"We should expect that most of all from our leaders," she said. "When President Duterte made inappropriate remarks, I deliberately chose to ignore these. There are larger and more urgent issues we confront as a nation that demand our collective attention."


PHILSTAR

After snubbing Kris, Rody attends late mother’s foundation launch By Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 13, 2016 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 0


Go Negosyo founder and presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion is shown with TV host Kris Aquino during the National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Summit 2016 in Davao City on Friday.

MANILA, Philippines - Not even a busy schedule or a throbbing migraine could prevent President Duterte from commemorating the 100th birth anniversary of his late mother, Soledad or Nanay Soleng, in Davao City Friday night.

Although still suffering from migraine, which prompted him to skip his much touted one-on-one with show biz star Kris Aquino – youngest sister of former president Benigno Aquino III – Duterte managed to attend the launching of the Pilipinong May Puso Foundation Inc. in honor of the humanitarian efforts of his mother at the Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao at 9 p.m.

In the same event, Duterte administered the oath to Rowena Velasco as chairman of the foundation.

“I was not expecting a crowd, that’s why I came in a t-shirt. I am very, very late because I came from a high place where it was very hard to come down,” Duterte said.

READ MORE..

He took the opportunity to pay tribute to his parents who molded him and his siblings.

“I am a son of a poor family. My mother was just a teacher and I remember, when we migrated here… me and my siblings were left with my grandmother in Bohol,” he said.

Duterte said he knew how it felt being poor even if his father was a lawyer – who eventually became the first military mayor of Danao City before becoming a two-term governor.

Life turned for the better when his father became governor but he was a disciplinarian, the President said.

“I am strict because this is what I got from my father,” he added.

“My father, he was a soldier… he had the love for country. My mother, having come from mixed blood, was more civic-minded,” he said.

His mother was always helping the poor, something which he inherited, along with being “talkative.”

He said his good relations with the New People’s Army were rooted in the help his mother gave the rebels during her heyday.

At around 3 a.m. yesterday, the President visited the wake of former judge Adoracion Avisado, a close family friend.

Meanwhile, Go Negosyo founder and presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said Aquino was excited and prepared for the one-on-one interview with Duterte and still put an excellent show despite his absence.

“You can expect Kris to continue campaigning for greater support for micro, small and medium enterprises. The story cannot end this way. There will surely be a second round of town hall interview with the President at the right time,” he said. – With Edith Regalado


ABS-CBN

Duterte: I may be forced to suspend writ of habeas corpus Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News Posted at Nov 12 2016 10:50 PM | Updated as of Nov 13 2016 02:56 AM


President Rodrigo Duterte said that suspending the writ will be necessary if he thinks he's "helpless" to protect the country. Malacanang file photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte said he may be forced to declare a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus if lawlessness in Mindanao worsens.

In a speech at the launching of the Pilipinong May Puso Foundation in Davao City on Friday, Duterte said a rebellion in Mindanao is ongoing and, if it gets out of control, he would consider suspending the writ of habeas corpus so he can start "picking up" those responsible for the disorder.

"At kung magkalat itong still lawlessness, I might be forced to — ayaw ko, ayaw ko. Warning ko lang sa kanila 'yan, ayaw ko kasi hindi maganda. But if you force my hand into it, I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, not martial law. Wala akong balak sa pulitika. But I will kasi wala akong remedy," Duterte said.
(If the lawlessness spreads, I might be forced to — I don't want to, I don't want to. I'm just warning them, but I don't want to do it because it's not good. It's not political, but I will do it because I have no remedy for it.)
"I cannot issue an order without a valid . . . I have to build a case one by one."

READ MORE...

Duterte's entire speech at the foundation's launch was posted by RTVMalacanang on its YouTube channel. The part where Duterte mentions suspending the writ of habeas corpus starts at 41:13.

The writ of habeas corpus grants a person the right to question in court any instance of unlawful detention.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the president may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus only in cases of invasion or rebellion and when public safety requires it.

Duterte placed the country under a state of lawless violence in September, following the bombing of a night market in Davao.

The president added that suspending the writ will be necessary if he thinks he's "helpless" to protect the country.
"If you don’t give me a choice then you box me in a corner and I find myself helpless because we have . . . kaya nandiyan ‘yan eh. [That's why that provision is there.] Those are really provisions intended to protect the Republic of the Philippines," he said.

The president said he can go to jail after he deals with lawlessness in the country.

"I can be ordered by the Supreme Court, 'Stop it' but there are things that they cannot, and maybe, I will not, stop. Eh bahala sabihin ko na muna tapusin ko 'to, tapos I can go to jail. [I'll put a stop to the lawlessness first, then I can go to jail]," he said.

Duterte added: "File all the charges that you can think of. But this country, in my time, will not deteriorate any further."

----------------------------

RELATED FROM THE MANILA TIMES

No basis to suspend writ – lawmakers
BY JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, TMT AND LLANESCA T. PANTI, TMT ON ON NOVEMBER 13, 2016 HEADLINES


They may be part of the PDP-Laban-led coalition in the legislature, but these four Liberal Party (LP) senators have put their feet down as far as President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed plan to suspend habeas corpus privileges is concerned. “As public servants and duly elected officials, we are sworn to serve and protect the rights of every Filipino and to uphold and defend the Philippine Constitution,” read a joint statement Sunday (November 13) by Senators Kiko Pangilinan, Bam Aquino, Franklin Drilon and Leila de Lima.

LAWMAKERS on Sunday reacted with alarm to the threat of President Rodrigo Duterte that he may suspend the writ of habeas corpus not only to stop rebellion in Mindanao, but also to strengthen the government’s campaign against illegal drugs.

Senators belonging to the Liberal Party (LP) issued a joint statement maintaining that there is no reason for the President to allow warrantless arrests.

The group, headed by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, said the illegal drug problem is not a ground to suspend the writ.

As for rebellion, the senators noted that the administration is already talking peace with all armed groups except the Abu Sayyaf.

“We see no basis for the suspension of the Filipinos’ privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and we shall remain committed to upholding the sacred constitutional safeguards to the rights of the Filipino people,” they said.

Section 15 of the Bill of Rights provides: “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended except in cases of invasion or rebellion when the public safety requires it.”

Members of the LP in the Senate include Senate president pro-tempore Franklin Drilon and senators Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th and Leila de Lima.

In a separate statement, de Lima called on the President to stop toying with the idea of suspending the writ of habeas corpus in his attempt to supposedly legitimize his administration’s flawed war against illegal drugs.

“The President has spent a lot of time talking about his sheer determination to stop illegal drugs in the country for the rest of his term. However, if he could just spend more time talking with the families of the victims, he’d understand what is fundamentally and dreadfully wrong with his war on drugs and why the planned suspension of the writ of habeas corpus sends dangerous message to the public,” she said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, wanted to know if the declaration of a “State of Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao” in September was a prelude to the President’s plan to suspend the writ of habeas corpus.

“Was the state of emergency declared in preparation for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus? Although there is no provision that you need go through first a state of emergency before declaring suspension of the writ or even martial law,” Lacson said in a radio interview.

The senator added that the President’s pronouncement may be part of his “psywar” but the public may see it as “creeping martial law.”

He said suspending the writ of habeas corpus will not speak well of the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) anti-illegal drug operations.

“It doesn’t speak well of the efforts of the PNP to curb criminality. They will be contradicting their own statement,” the senator added.

Shades of martial law

Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay also criticized the President’s pronouncements, saying the threat of suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is reminiscent of martial law.

“There are no legal and factual bases for the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The deadly campaign against drug traffickers and narcotic abuse is not a ground for suspension. With the growing culture of violence and killings, the suspension of the writ may further embolden the police to summarily execute suspects or cause their involuntary disappearance,” Lagman, a lawyer, said in a statement.

“Besides, the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus will only be a farce because the carcass of victims of extrajudicial killings may not be brought anyway before the courts even without the suspension since the privilege of the writ demands the judicial presentation of the live bodies,” he added.

Clarify it

A ranking military official also on Sunday urged Malacanang to clarify the President’s statements, saying such pronouncement tends to cause panic.

“That is already a policy statement. The Palace should clarify that because it is a big issue, something that will cause panic. This is because it is already about suspending [the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus],” the military official who requested anonymity said.

While agreeing that empowering state security forces to conduct warrantless arrests may help the government’s campaign against terrorism and illegal drugs, the military official added that it may not help in prosecuting cases against suspects.

“[Suspending the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus] may not outrightly solve the problem because what you can only do is arrest. After arrest is prosecution. So even if the arrest is warranted, if we can’t prosecute, it’s nothing,” the official explained.

He said the basis of the issuance of a warrant of arrest is the existence of probable cause that does not determine the guilt or innocence of a person.

“When you say probable cause, it only means that the person is probably guilty of the offense being charged and he has to be held behind bars to be able or in order to face proceedings when the court needs him. Many were arrested by virtue of warrantless arrests but were later acquitted because the prosecution failed to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt,” the official added.

MALACANANG OFFICIALS

But Malacanang officials said the enormity of the drug problem would prompt the President to order the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

“If you have 10,000 people involved in the drug menace, you have to file cases against them, secure warrants of arrest and search warrants. You will have a problem with that because that [securing of warrants]will take you eternity. The remedy there is to suspend the writ of habeas corpus so that you will not be restrained or chained by judicial proceedings,” Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said in a television interview.

“There have been news reports that drug money is being used to finance rebellion in Mindanao, as well as the terrorism by Abu Sayyaf. So in cases of invasion or rebellion, the President, under the Constitution, can seek the suspension of writ of habeas corpus,” Panelo added.

PANELO, ANDANAR

Palace Communications chief Martin Andanar echoed Panelo’s claims, arguing that the President’s warning was prompted by his concern over the unabated drug problem.

Palace officials earlier claimed that the country has won the first phase of the so-called war against drugs with the surrender of around 700,000 drug suspects. The campaign, however, has left around 4,000 drug suspects killed in its wake, according to watchdogs.

“Our drug problem is widespread. The President has shown a list of persons of interest in connection with this. This is really unresolved at this point. It is not an overnight campaign. It is not a campaign that can be done in just six months and the President has already mentioned that,” Andanar said in a radio interview.

“The President asked for an extension for the anti-drug war because this is not easy. This does not mean a failure. It means discovering how worse the problem is. A lot of people are into it, there are people from government who are involved in it beyond our expectations. It’s that simple,” he added.

Panelo, however, insisted that the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus will not be a prelude to martial law.

“The suspension of the writ of habeas corpus [will be sought]if the remedies on the drug menace and criminality won’t suffice. There is no need to declare martial law,” he said.


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