Warning on Duterte’s special powers: Unli na, zero liability pa!

President Rodrigo Duterte’s bid to fight coronavirus could be more dangerous than the pandemic itself.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlo Zarate warned that a bill seeking to allow Duterte to declare a national emergency was illegal because it was open ended or does not have a firm deadline.

Under the proposed bill, Duterte’s special powers “shall be in full force and effect only for two months or longer if the calamity will persist, as may be determined by the President…that the powers granted under this Act may be withdrawn sooner by means of a concurrent resolution of Congress or ended by Presidential Proclamation.”

Zarate said this kind of “unli” power was in clear violation of the 1988 Constitution which mandated that such emergency powers shall cease upon the adjournment of Congress (5 June 2020).

“The bill must have a clear sunset provision and must not be vaguely unlimited as its wordings suggest because if so it may happen like the martial law declaration in Mindanao that was extended and extended,” according to the Makabayan Bloc.

Makabayan Bloc also noted that the bill does not have any provision that would make the President and his men liable for violation of the ‘Emergency Law.’

“There is no Constitutional provision that provides for presidential immunity so a law that renders the president accountable, for violating the emergency law is not unconstitutional. With great power comes great accountability,” Makabayan said.

“The bill should provide penalties for failure to report or falsifying the reports and this should also include the president. It is also ironic that it has a penalty clause for those who would supposedly violate the bill but it does not define the act,so this should be deleted,” it added.

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