House oversight panel on terrorism urged » Manila Bulletin News

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By Charissa Luci

Deputy Minority Leader and Kabayan partylist Rep. Harry Roque sought the creation of a congressional oversight panel on terrorism following the reported involvement of ISIS in the Marawi attacks.

Members of the Philippine Army mans a checkpoint at Pantar, Lanao Del Norte as residents of Marawi City begin to evacuate for the fear of getting caught in the crossfire. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN File Photo)

The opposition lawmaker said the military should update the Legislative on the true state of the country’s security landscape, believing that terrorism is not isolated in Marawi City alone.

“I propose the creation of an oversight congressional committee on terrorism so that the military could tell us what is really happening. I know that they know the real situation on the ground,” he told reporters in a press conference.

He justified President Duterte’s suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao, saying that it is needed to equip the Executive to act on terrorism.

But, amid the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, Roque said the other remedies for the protection of civil and political rights issued by the Supreme Court under the Constitution, namely the privileges of the Writ of Amparo and the Writ of Habeas Data – remain in place.

“Illegal searches and seizure remain prohibited. Only the privilege to question the legality of warrantless arrests is suspended during that 60-day period. Moreover, during the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released,” he said.

“Martial law is not blanket authority for abuse of the rights of citizens,” he pointed out.

He noted that if the reports of ISIS presence in the Philippines are true, the attacks are analogous to an invasion or an international armed conflict.

Under International Humanitarian Law, an International Armed Conflict exists when armed conflict arises between two or more States, even if the state of war is not recognized by one of them, Roque explained.

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