Displaying items by tag: duterte

Duterte might suspend habeas corpus in Visayas if violence spreads

(philstar.com)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the troopers of the Joint Task Force (JTF) Sulu prior to his visit to the wounded soldiers at Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo, Sulu on May 27, 2017. Joining the President are Presidential Adviser on Military Affairs Arthur Tabaquero, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, JTF Sulu Commander Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, among others. PCOO/Released

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said that he would suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the Visayas as a “precautionary measure” if the violence spills into the Central Philippines as fighting between security forces and Islamist fighters continues in Marawi City.

Speaking during the 119th founding anniversary of the Philippine Navy, Duterte said that he hopes the deaths of Abu Sayyaf fighters who went to Bohol island to try to sow terrorist activities there would teach Islamist militants a lesson as he expressed fears about the possibility of the Visayas becoming the next theater of battle between security forces and bandit groups.

In April, 10 Abu Sayyaf fighters went to the tourist island of Bohol allegedly to kidnap vacationers and to sow terrorism. They were met by a strong military response, however, eventually leading to the arrest or death of the Islamist militants.

Duterte said that he would suspend the privilege of habeas corpus in Visayas should the fighting on the Philippines second largest island spill into the region.

The chief executive said he was worried about the Visayas considering that it  is just a short boat ride away from the shores of Mindanao.

The Philippine Navy and Coast Guard are already patrolling the waters between the Visayas and Mindanao.

“That’s why I mentioned in passing that if there is a transfer of venue from Mindanao to the Visayas and to make it easy for the Philippines to challenge the new engagements I will be forced to declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, not martial law,” he said.

The writ of habeas corpus means “to produce the body.” It is a court order for individuals or agencies to bring a detained person before the court and to explain a valid reason for that individual’s detention.

The 1987 Constitution requires that the writ’s suspension be done separately from the declaration of martial law. It states that the suspension of habeas corpus applies “only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in, or directly connected with, invasion.”

'Visayas a porous region'

The president also cited the fact that Visayas was a porous region because it is composed of several small and large islands.

“And the only reason why I am worried about the Visayas is it’s just a very short expanse of the sea. And as a matter of fact if you leave by ship or boat via Cagayan, by morning time, you are in the Visayas. It’s a group of islands. It’s very porous, and you cannot control any Filipino for that matter from going anywhere and everywhere. That is the constitutional right of every Filipino in this country,” he said.

The president has previously said that he might declare martial law over the entire country.

“I have a serious problem in Mindanao, and the (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has taken, their footprints are everywhere. And there are many, many foreigners and Caucasian-looking. Allow me to focus the problem sa Mindanao, and maybe the spillover in the Visayas and in Luzon,” the president said last week. “If I think the ISIS has taken foothold also in Luzon, and terrorism is not really far behind, I might declare martial law throughout the country to protect the people.”

He said that with the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus suspended, it would be easy for security forces to arrest suspected Islamist group fighters.

“But yung habeas corpus lang, so that I can arrest you anytime without a warrant. That is just a precautionary measure. I don’t it will happen. I hope it will not happen. But if it does we must be ready,” Duterte said.

Last week, the president was forced to cut his landmark official visit in Moscow as the battle between security forces and Islamist fighters raged in the Islamic City of Marawi in the Philippines’ troubled south.

According to the military, the firefight broke out when soldiers tried to arrest an Abu Sayyaf subleader, Isnilon Hapilon, and several Maute Group leaders.

The group then occupied pockets of the city from which they have been fighting the military since Tuesday last week.

The clashes have so far killed 89 Islamist fighters, 21 soldiers and policemen and 19 civilians. They have also turned the once bustling city of 200,000 into a virtual ghost town as most of its inhabitants streamed into neighboring cities and towns.

The battle has devolved into street-to-street combat as the military tries to flush out the remaining fighters out of the city.

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Preparing to cross the line

President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that he will defy the Supreme Court if the high tribunal does not toe his line in relation to his declaration of martial law last week is the clearest indication that he will perpetuate himself in power, even if he is fully aware that he does not have too many good years left.
Very likely, he plans to follow in the footsteps of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, but at a different pace. Where the former strongman first set the stage for the imposition of martial law by first suspending the writ of habeas corpus, Mr. Duterte didn’t even bother to prepare the people for the worst.
What he did was to declare martial law in all of Mindanao, but immediately followed this up with a statement that he was prepared to place the entire country under his one-man rule on the vague condition that he will take the draconian measure if terrorists enter the Visayas and Luzon.
Under the current regime where fake news proliferates, it will come as no surprise if fake terrorists are spotted in Metro Manila, who will then commit some unspeakable act of terrorism and voila! The regime has a perfect excuse to declare martial law nationwide.
This was done before by Marcos, who had then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile fake an assassination attempt just before Presidential Decree 1081 placing the Philippines under martial rule was signed. Enrile himself admitted that the supposed assassination attempt on his person was faked.
The way Mr. Duterte has been acting, it will not be impossible or even improbable for his regime to dictate to Congress to legitimize his version of 1081, and to switch from legitimately elected Philippine president to illegitimate dictator for life.
He can then do one of two things: prepare his anointed successor during this period, which can either be his daughter Sarah, or worst, defeated vice presidential bet Bongbong Marcos.
Being a lawyer but nowhere near possessing the admitted brilliant legal mind of the older Marcos, Mr. Duterte will have to have his subordinates legally justify the soon-to-be permanent state of martial law in the country. Unfortunately, the lawyers in his Cabinet are a most unimpressive bunch.
And with an independent-minded Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the person of Lourdes Sereno, the Duterte legal cabal are overmatched. It is for this reason that the president said he would defy the SC if it rules against his martial law, or any of the acts committed by the administration related thereto.
For Marcos, his justification was to “save the republic and reform society,” which was later the basis for his ridiculous New Society.
Mr. Duterte is more blunt. He says he will declare marital law nationwide “to save the people,” whatever that means. The only people who need saving are the unfortunate poor suspected of using drugs who continue to be killed extrajudicially on a daily basis.
As expected, Mr.Duterte’s apologists tried to tone down his “I will defy the Supreme Court” stance by saying he did not exactly mean what he said. 
Yeah, right.
Just like his telling the Armed Forces that he would “allow” soldiers to rape up to three, but never four or more women while doing their duty. At least this is better than Ferdinand Marcos’s martial law, when soldiers and even policemen could do as they wish. Literally tens of thousands of Filipinos were raped and/or killed.
By perpetuating himself in power, Mr. Duterte is setting the stage not only for a repeat of the rampant abuses during the Marcos martial law period, he all but guarantees that the situation will be much, much worse. The country’s economy which was left in good shape by former President Noynoy Aquino will be the first victim. Foreign investments will disappear, while those who are part of the Duterte regime will commit brazen acts of plunder from the highest to the lowest levels.
In 1986, the Philippines found a savior in a small group of reform-minded officers of the Armed Forces who inspired millions of Filipinos to force the Marcoses and their cronies out of the country. Perhaps it is within the same Armed Forces of the Philippines that another group of young officers will recognize the evil that is martial law and take whatever measure is necessary to end it and restore the country’s democratic institutions.
It must begin with the head of state unconditionally accepting that the chief justice of the Supreme Court is his co-equal, and not his subordinate.
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Duterte’s fatal attraction

Offhand, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with President Rodrigo Duterte going to Russia in order, he says, to correct the country’s “overdependence on traditional partners.”
Presumably the Philippines’ chief executive expects to receive the same kind of “friendly” aid that China has committed to the country, specifically billions of dollars in soft loans and outright grants, plus thousands of free firearms for the Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as the Philippine National Police.
So off he goes this week to the Kremlin to presumably meet President Vladimir Putin, whom Duterte now calls “my friend” and whom he had previously expressed high admiration for.
By his words and by his actions, Mr. Duterte is hell bent on pivoting the country’s economic, social, and political ties to the two former communist superpowers at the expense of more traditional allies such as the US and Japan.
This may be his prerogative but for one thing. All surveys show that the majority of Filipinos still prefer to side with the US and still have a strong distrust for China. 
And why shouldn’t they? China continues to encroach on Philippine territory and very recently threatened to wage war on the country – you know, it’s the one that Mr. Duterte is supposed to protect with his life -- if it tries to occupy any of the islets the Asian power claims to be theirs, but which are infinitely closer to the Philippine land mass than to China.
At least Russia hasn’t done anything that can even be remotely considered as a threat to the Philippines’ integrity.
Still, the question must be asked: Why Russia, of all countries?
There are no strong ties linking the Philippines and Russia, and the number of citizens of both states living and working in the other is minimal, at best, choosing Russia over such countries as Australia, New Zealand, and India, among others, must be considered as odd, to say the least.
By his own admission, Mr. Duterte admits that he is now addicted to the powerful drug Fentanyl, so this must be clouding his thinking. Maybe addicted is too strong a word, but what else can be said of his imbibing the drug on a daily basis, without which he says he cannot function normally?
                                                Russian “tools”
A story is told about the late Indonesian strongman Sukarno, who once paid a visit to the former USSR (the former superpower centered around Mother Russia). In order to assure that the Indon leader would always toe the communist Russian line, he was gifted with a prostitute or two while there.
Russia’s use of sex as a tool to keep both its friends and enemies in check is widely known. So after his visit, Sukarno was reportedly informed that there were highly incriminating photos of him in the act. The veiled threat was that the photos would become public if he ever did anything that Russia disapproved of.
They did not realize that Bong Sukarno was a man made of sterner stuff. He called the Russian dare, even offering to show the photos over Indonesian television. The Russkies backed off, of course.
More recently, a stunning  Russian spy was uncovered while working for their embassy in the US. The pretty woman did not deny that she was working for Russian intelligence, and had bedded some powerful US politicians.
When she was forced to go back home, she received a heroine’s welcome. Presumably, she is still working for Russian intelligence, but no longer as a spy.
At the very least, Mr. Duterte should be wary of the “gifts” he will receive while paying a visit to Mr. Putin, who he must be reminded was once head of the dreaded KGB. 
The Philippine president is most welcome to receive aid, grants, weapons and whatever else Russia offers the country, but he must make sure that his admitted weakness for the ladies does not put him in a most precarious situation.
Incidentally, rumors were rife some months ago that US President Donald Trump is so enamored with Russia for the wrong reason. In a visit to the Kremlin not too long ago, he was reportedly given the same gift or tool that Russia likes to offer foreign leaders.
The rumor mill says that he and his host/hosts engaged in some bedroom games involving golden showers.
I don’t want to believe that this POTUS has ever done anything that smacks of perversion, but who knows? He remains attracted to Putin and Russia and only he can say why. But just to be on the safe side, maybe he should warn his Philippine counterpart?
Mr.Duterte’s attraction to China and Russia may just turn fatal for him one of these days.
 
 
 
 
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