The Presidential Commission on Good Goverment (PCGG) yesterday filed a petition for habeas corpus to compel the Senate to present Camilo Sabio, PCGG Chairman, before the Supreme Court and to justify his arrest and detention that was ordered by the Senate in connection with its on-going inquiry in aid of legislation. You probably read about the petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by Jocelyn â€œJoc-jocâ€ Bolante against U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other ranking US government officials in order to gain freedom in the United States.The term “writ of habeas corpus” had surfaced many times before. Let’s discuss this subject matter.
What is a writ of habeas corpus?
“Habeas corpus” is a Latin phrase which literally means “you have the body”. Basically, it is a writ directed to the person detaining another, commanding him to produce the body of the prisoner at a designated time and place, with the day and cause of his capture and detention, to do, submit to, and receive whatsoever the court or judge awarding the writ shall consider in that behalf.
What is the scope of the writ of habeas corpus?
The writ of habeas corpus generally extends to all cases of illegal confinement or detention by which a person is deprived of liberty, or the rightful custody of a person is withheld from the person entitled thereto.
Who may issue the writ of habeas corpus?
The writ may be issued by the Supreme Court or by the Court of Appeals or any member thereof, enforceable anywhere in the Philippines.
It may also be issued by the Regional Trial Cout (RTC) or any judge thereof, enforceable only within the judicial district.
To whom is the writ directed?
If the detention is by an officer, the writ shall be directed to him, commanding him to bring the body of the person restrained of liberty before the court at the time and place specified. If the detention is by a person other than an officer, then the writ shall be directed to an officer commanding him to the same effect and to summon the person restraining. The respondent will be asked to explain the cause of the detention.
When shall the subject person be released?
When the prisoner is unlawfully restrained, the court or judge shall order his discharge which shall not be effective until a copy of the order is served on the officer or person detaining the prisoner. If such officer or person does not desire to appeal, the prisoner shall be forthwith released.
[Source and citations: Supreme Court; Rule 102 of the Rules of Court]
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