By Hannah L. Torregoza
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon reminded a former Supreme Court justice that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights remain supreme under martial law.
“Even under martial law or despite suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, warrantless arrests cannot be done except those charged in court with rebellion,” Drilon said in a statement.
Drilon was disputing claims made by retired Supreme Court Justice Vicente Mendoza that the government could not be accused of violating the Bill of Rights during martial law.
“I hope that Justice Mendoza was just misquoted. I remind him that the Constitution and the rule of law should continue to reign supreme,” Drilon pointed out.
“There are rights that are considered inviolable under the present Constitution. Those rights should be respected at all times,” Drilon said.
“Warrantless arrest for crimes other than rebellion cannot be made even with the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus,” he emphasized.
The former Justice Secretary said a warrantless arrest can only be valid when made under circumstances mentioned in Section 5, Rule 113 of the Rules of Court, such as when a person is caught in the act of committing a crime.
This is recognized in the guidelines issued by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.
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