Duterte threatens to suspend writ of habeas corpus, declare revolutionary war

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President Rodrigo Duterte says he is on a warpath if push comes to shove with his policies. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 4) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday threatened to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and have his critics arrested over a senator's comment on his order to review state contracts.

"I have enough problems with criminality, drugs, rebellion and all.. Pero pag ako ang pinaabot ninyo nang sagad [But if you push me to limit., I will declare the suspension of writ of habeas corpus and I will arrest all of you. Kasama kayo sa mga rebelde, mga kriminal, pati mga durugista [You are part of the rebels, the criminals and the drug addicts]," Duterte said in a speech in Palawan on Thursday.

Known for issuing exaggerated statements, the President also threatened to declare a "revolutionary war" if push comes to shove on his policies.

"Then pahirapan mo ako [if you make it difficult for me], I will declare a revolutionary war until the end of my term. Then pasesnsyahan tayo [you'll have to excuse me]," he said.

In a chance interview after his speech, Duterte issued his warning again.

"That was just really a threat that you do not push me to the extreme because it would be dangerous for everybody. It might not really end the way you would like it to be," he said.

The Constitution states under Article III, Section 15 (Bill of Rights) that "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." The writ is a constitutional right whereby an individual cannot be imprisoned or detained unless the person has first been brought to court, which decides whether or not the detention is legal.

Duterte responded to Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon's statement Wednesday where he urged the government to exercise caution in the review of government contracts and loan agreements as ordered by the President. 

"But I must caution that existing and binding contracts cannot simply be classified as onerous and cancelled," Drilon had warned. "The government must avail of the procedure outlined in the contract."

Drilon said the administration should respect the sanctity of government contracts.

The President did not take Drilon's statement well.

"P****** how dare you say that to me Mr. Drilon. Sa inyo 'yan eh [It's in your court]," he said. "Ayusin ninyo 'yan [Fix it]. I will not honor 'yung bullshit ninyo. Eh ano kung magkagulo tayo? [So what if we go to war?]"