Duterte twits Drilon, threatens to suspend writ of habeas corpus
Updated (9:45 p.m.)
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday slammed opposition Senator Franklin Drilon for asking his administration to be cautious in canceling contracts the government has entered into with private firms and foreign countries, even threatening to suspend the writ of habeas corpus if he is “pushed to the wall.”
Speaking during the 31st Annual Convention of Prosecutor’s League of the Philippines in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Duterte asked why should he be careful in rescinding contracts which contain provisions that are detrimental to the public interest.
“Why should I be careful in reviewing contracts that are not in the interest of the people? And the onerous and burden(some) provisions there that the people will have to honor, so you think I will allow it? Just because we cannot impair the obligation of our contracts?” Duterte said.
“How dare you say that to me, Mr. Drilon?” he added.
Duterte then warned that he will suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus if he is “pushed to the wall.”
“I have enough problems with criminality, drugs, rebellion and all. Pero kapag ako ang pinaabot niyo ng sagad (If you push me to my limits), I will declare the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. And I will arrest all of you,” he said.
“Then pahirapan mo ako (Then you will give me a hard time)? I will declare a revolutionary war until the end of my term. I’m willing to be hung. I’m willing to die.”
Duterte had threatened to set up a revolutionary government if the country fell into chaos due to the alleged ouster plot against him.
During Monday’s Cabinet meeting, Duterte ordered all contracts the government signed with private firms and foreign governments after he found out an “onerous” contract with Maynilad where the government was prohibited from interfering in the terms of the deal.
Though he generally backed Duterte’s order, Drilon pointed out that existing and binding contracts “cannot simply be classified as onerous and unilaterally canceled” as there is a procedure outlined in the contract.
Canceling these contracts would constitute a breach of the government’s obligations, Drilon warned. /ee
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