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Former SC spox: ‘Unelected’ presidential assistants cannot issue orders

By: Rosalie Abatayo - Reporter/CDN Digital | March 22,2020 - 09:07 AM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — A former spokesperson of the Supreme Court (SC) has questioned the authority of a presidential assistant to issue an “advisory,” which in effect, “orders” for policies to be implemented.

Lawyer Theodore Te, in a tweet on Saturday evening, March 21, 2020, said issuing an advisory that turns out to be an order for curfew is beyond the power of “unelected presidential assistants.”

“Unelected Presidential Assistants cannot issue an “Advisory”, then use the word “order”. impose a 24 hour curfew, command PNP and AFP, and then say the guidelines are for compliance until they are withdrawn,” Te wrote in a tweet.

Although Te, a former spokesman of the SC, did not drop names in his tweet, netizens were quick to identify that Te was referring to the March 21 advisory issued by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) which orders students and senior citizens to “stay at home.”

Sec. Michael Lloyd Dino issued an advisory for LGUs to issue executive orders on the 24/7 curfew for seniors and students amid COVID-19 situation. (Photo from OPAV)

In his Advisory, OPAV Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino, adopted the policy issued by Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia which imposes a round the clock curfew for senior citizens aged 65-years-old and above and students amid the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation.

Read: Capitol to students, elderly: Stay at home or else …

In the same order, Dino told local government units to execute their respective ordinance imposing the 24-hour curfew for seniors and students not later than 3 p.m. of Sunday, March 22.

Te, referring to the advisory, also said it was “void in so many levels.”

Te’s tweet has gained over 1,100 likes and retweeted 400 times in 10 hours.

The OPAV, shortly after Te’s tweet, posted a clarification that LGUs are “encouraged and enjoined ” to issue their respective executive orders.

“Please be informed that LGUS are encouraged and enjoined to execute their respective Executive Orders pertaining to community quarantine to curb the spread of COVID-19, all in line with national government policies and the aforementioned Advisory on the imposition of a 24-hour curfew for 65 year olds and up, and students,” the OPAV wrote midnight on Sunday, March 22. / dcb

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