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Rule of law, human rights must prevail – Cuy

Press Release
May 26, 2017

QUEZON CITY – With the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus under the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao, Interior and Local Government Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Catalino S. Cuy today enjoined DILG offices and attached agencies to observe the rule of law and ensure the observance of human rights in the southern region.

In a directive, Cuy said that Martial Law does not suspend the operation of the Philippine Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies even if the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus has already been suspended over the entire Mindanao region.

“As part of the observance of the rule of law and recognition of the supremacy of civilian authority even in areas covered by the proclamation or suspension of the writ, all DILG officials and employees, including those from the attached agencies, should refrain from doing acts obstructive of our regular deliverables to the public unless prevented or restrained by the duly constituted authorities,” he said.

Cuy issued the directive to DILG regional directors, provincial and city directors, the Philippine National Police, other attached agencies and bureaus, field officers and others concerns as guidance on the Presidential Proclamation of Martial Law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

In the said directive, he pointed out that any arrest, search and seizure done in areas where the proclamation was made or Martial Law is effective should comply with existing laws, rules and regulations notably the Constitution and the Revised Rules of Court.

He also said that the suspension of the privilege of the writ applies only to a person judicially charged for rebellion or invasion and such person must be charged within three days, outside of that, habeas corpus must persist. The proclamation of Martial Law also does not affect the right to bail.

“Everyone is enjoined to adhere and support the purpose and reasons for the proclamation of Martial Law and suspension of the privilege of the writ in Mindanao, bearing into consideration that this was done to restore and maintain peace and order in the areas covered,” he said.

According to Cuy, the proclamation of Martial Law and suspension of the privilege of the writ, as interim measures, are also subject to review and possible revocation by the Congress, review and nullification of the Supreme Court, and a time limit of 60 days.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte placed the Mindanao region under Martial Law pursuant to Section 18, Article VII of the 1987 Philippine Constitution following the violent attacks in Marawi City.