Duterte ‘emergency powers’ will end once Bayanihan law expires — Lacson

By: Christia Marie Ramos - Inquirer.net | June 05,2020 - 10:19 AM

Sen. Panfilo Lacson during a teleconferencing of Senate sessions. Senate PRIB file photo / Henzberg Austria

MANILA, Philippines — The “emergency powers” granted to President Rodrigo Duterte under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act to deal with the coronavirus pandemic will cease once the law lapses by Friday, Senator Panfilo Lacson pointed out on Thursday.

Once the law expires, the national government would no longer be mandated to give out cash subsidies to affected families, Lacson told reporters in an online interview before the Senate resumed its last plenary session in the first regular session in the 18th Congress.

Congress will go on a two-month break before it opens its 2nd regular session in July.

On Wednesday, the Senate was able to approve on second reading Senate Bill No. 1564 or the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, which is seen to replace Republic Act 11469 or Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, which grants the President additional powers, for a limited time, to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Senate would need the President to certify the bill as urgent enabling the chamber to pass the measure swiftly on third reading as it would no longer need to wait for three days to do so.

Asked what would happen should Congress fail to pass the bill due to the absence of an urgent certification, Lacson said: “Mawawala na yung emergency powers (The emergency powers will expire).”

“Lahat ng mga provision na nandun sa Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, balewala na yan kasi time bound yan (Every provision under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, it will become invalid because the law is time bound),” he added.

The senator noted that R.A. 11469 would be effective until June 24 since the law, which was signed on March 24, was only given a three-month validity.

“Or unless withdrawn by a joint resolution of Congress or mag-adjourn ang session,” he said, referring to Congress’ sine die adjournment on Friday (June 5).

“So, hanggang bukas na lamang. Yung nakapaloob na mga provision sa R.A. 11469, tapos na yan. So, kung di mapapasa ito [Senate Bill No. 1564], yung mga kababayan natin na hindi nakakatanggap ng tulong, ang maasahan na lang nila kung anong ibibigay ng executive branch na available pero hindi na sila mama-mandate ng batas magbigay ng mga ayuda,” the senator added.

(So the law will only be effective until tomorrow. The provisions under R.A. 11469 will no longer be valid. If this will not be passed, the Filipino people can no longer receive assistance, they can just count on whatever aid that will be given by the executive branch but it will not be mandated by law.)

Sen. Sonny Angara shared the same view and said the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act will expire once the House of Representatives adjourns “sine die” tomorrow, June 5, since it is considered as an emergency measure.

“Upon adjournment of the House (we, having adjourned) because of the Constitutional provision that emergency powers cease upon the next adjournment of Congress,” Angara, chair of the Senate finance committee, said in a message.

Nevertheless, Lacson said Duterte calling on Congress to convene in a special session “is always an option.”

“That [special session] is always an option. Kung inaakala ng Malacañang na kailangan nila ng batas para ipagpatuloy ang pag-ayuda o exemption sa Government Procurement Act, magtatawag ang Pangulo ng special session sa Kongreso. It’s always an option,” he added.

(Special session is always an option. If Malacañang would see the need for the measure to be passed to continue the provision of subsidy or the exemption from the Government Procurement Act, the President could ask Congress to convene in a special session. It’s always an option).

Before Senate President Tito Sotto adjourned the session at around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, senators held a caucus as they waited for the urgent certification from Malacañang to allow the chamber to swiftly approve the measure.

But the certification never came and the Senate will go on break without approving the measure that would provide for the Philippines’ COVID-19 response and recovery plan, and a P140- billion standby fund.

After the Senate adjourned “sine die,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte will not certify the proposed “Bayanihan 2” as urgent “for now.”


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TAGS: Bayanihan law, Duterte, Emergency Powers, end, expires, Sen. Panfilo Lacson

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