SC nixes suit vs Bayanihan Law, says petitioner fails to prove grave abuse of discretion

The Supreme Court rejected a petition challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act 11469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act “in so far as the imposition of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) is concerned, ” which was imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

In a resolution, the high court said petitioner Jaime Ibañez, a former law dean of Laguna State Polytechnic University, “failed to show the grave abuse of discretion committed by the
respondents,” namely Cabinet Secretaries Karlo Nograles Francisco Duque, and Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

In a petition for certiorari and prohibition, Ibañez also asked the high court to stop the government’s Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases from enforcing guidelines on community quarantine, saying it was an “invalid delegation of legislative authority. ”

Ibañez pointed out that such guidelines issued by IATF were violative of the constitutional provisions on due process of law and equal protection clause.

“The IATF has no power to define the law on quarantine, set its own parameters and restrictions and to even invent the Modified Enhanced Community [Quarantine] according to its own bizarre definition, which all amount to an exercise of grave abuse of discretion,” the petition read.

” Locking or putting individuals who are not COVID-19 patients and the like, and placing them to quarantine area with unlimited period, is a complete disregard of the safeguards embodied in the bill of rights,” it added.

He also challenged Proclamations No. 929 and 922, which declared a state of calamity and a state of public health emergency in the Philippines, respectively.

“Proclamation No’s. 929 and 922 do not serve the purpose of protecting and promoting the right of people to health much less instilling health consciousness among them,” Ibañez said.

He said these proclamations were made outside of Congress’ declared policy to test, trace and treat COVID-19 patients and persons under investigation and monitoring.

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