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Basis for Martial Law declaration, against the law – Constitutionalist

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, May 25th, 2017

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_052417_ATTY MONSOD

MANILA — A constitutionalist has questioned the basis of President Rodrigo Duterte for declaring martial law in the entire region of Mindanao.

One of the framers of the 1987 Constitution, Atty. Christian Monsod, argues that the turmoil in Marawi can be considered as lawless violence only, and not rebellion or invasion which should be the basis of martial law as stated in the Constitution.

“It seems to me that the situation there can be addressed by the 1st part of section 18 on the Constitution calling for the armed forces to address lawless violence. [I] don’t think it needs a declaration of martial law,” Monsod said.

Even a group of human rights lawyers explained there had been only one encounter in Marawi City that authorities were not able to immediately control.

“We think the declaration is not valid because there is no factual basis. There are only two basis – rebellion and invasion. There is definitely no invasion. We think there is no rebellion as well. Because first, when you say rebellion, there has to be an armed uprising with the purpose of removing your allegiance with the government,” Atty. Ephraim Cortez, secretary general, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said.

Meanwhile, Senator Franklin Drilon has asked for a separate briefing because of some seemingly conflicting statements from the administration and the armed forces.

The senator said, “I think that would be useful so that we could fully understand the premises or the basis, because we get conflicting reports like, I heard the AFP Spokesman that everything is under control. If it’s under control, why was martial law declared? We don’t want to come to any conclusion until, at the very least; We get a report as required by the constitution.”

And even Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte herself believes the situation in Marawi City is not that severe.

“What’s happening in Marawi City is only lawless violence,” Mayor Sarah Duterte said.

Monsod, meanwhile, sees a bigger motive behind the declaration of the President.

He said, “It is scary because he is testing weather the people are accepting or willing to accept martial law even if there are really no sufficient grounds of declaring it and it would be a good sign for him to carry out a broader agenda than just federalism.”

Monsod said the power is now in the courts to study the martial law declaration of the President, while it’s up to Congress to decide on whether or not to approve the imposition of military rule.

“There must be a check and balance in our Constitution because it is really open to abuse with extra ordinary powers that the President has,” Monsod added.

President Rodrigo Duterte is the fifth president that declared martial law. The first was Emilio Aguinaldo in May 1898. Second was Jose P. Laurel in September 1944. Third to declare was Ferdinand Marcos in 1972 which lasted for nine years.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also declared a one month martial law in the town of Maguindanao in 2009 after the Maguindanao massacre. – Grace Casin | UNTV News and Rescue

 

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Revised SSS charter promises expanded benefits for members

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, October 12th, 2018

 

MANILA, Philippines — The bicameral conference committee has recently approved the revised charter of the Social Security System (SSS) which promises expanded benefits for its members.

The new SSS charter will provide compulsory coverage to overseas Filipino workers (OFW), and increase its loan allotment such as salary loan and retirement benefits.

The measure will also have a lower penalty for overdue contributions from three to two percent. It also promises financial assistance for two months, amounting to half of the monthly salary, for its members who lost their jobs.

“Yung mga nawawalan ng trabaho dahil for example, kumpanya na lumilipat sa ibang bansa or nagsara ang kumpanya dahil nagkaroon ng kalamidad, dapat matulungan natin yung mga empleyado doon na mamuhay o magkaroon man lamang ng supplemental income habang sila ay naghahanap pa ng mapapasukang panibago,” said SSS Media Affairs AVP Luisa Sebastian.

Among those who are looking forward to avail of the SSS unemployment insurance are contractual workers, Mirasol Salvante and Raffy Malacad. They said this would help them sustain their needs while they look for another job when their six-month contract expires.

“Kung walang budget pa mag-aantay. Pahinga muna ganun…mag depend ka ulit sa pamilya mo,” said Salvante.

“’Pag nawalan ng trabaho wala ka agad maasahan na makukuha kasi hindi regular,” said Malacad.

The SSS, however, clarified that not all active members will benefit from the proposed policy.

“Yun ang magiging problema natin, actually kung hindi ka regular na nagbabayad sa SSS, naaapektuhan yung iba mong benepisyo sa SSS,” said Sebastian.

In order to strengthen their fund, the SSS would have to hike the monthly contribution of its members. Under the proposed law, the 11% monthly contribution will increase by 1% starting next year, and gradually hike up to 15% by year 2025.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, meanwhile, welcomes the new SSS charter. However, they are proposing some amendments in its provisions.

“Ang aming panukala ay dapat 6 months na bigyan ng unemployment insurance at yung 6 months na yun ay sapat na panahon para makahanap ulit ng trabaho yung ating mga miembro ng SSS,” said TUCP Spokesperson Alan Tanjunsay.

The group added the agency should also strictly monitor factors that might affect its operations such as the status of its investments, fight against delinquent employers and giving of large bonuses to its employees.

The Social Security Act of 2018 awaits President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature before officially becoming a law. — Mon Jocson | UNTV News & Rescue

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Arroyo’s draft federal charter wants Senate President, not VP Robredo, to succeed president during transition period

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

 

FILE PHOTO: The first meeting of Vice President Leni Robredo and President Rodrigo Duterte after their inauguration on a military ceremony at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, July 01, 2016. (Office of the Vice President)

 

MANILA, Philippines — If President Rodrigo Duterte is unable to preside over the country’s transition to the new system of government, the Senate president is the next in line and not Vice President Leni Robredo.

This is based on the resolution of both Houses No. 15 authored by House Speaker Gloria Arroyo.

House Committee on Constitutional Amendments chairman Vicente Veloso explained that they decided to skip Vice President Robredo due to the election protest against her filed by former Senator Bongbong Marcos.

“We wouldn’t know who is the vice president would be then. Would it be Robredo, Bongbong Marcos? But look at the uncertainty, I’ve been jurist for long time there is no certainty when it comes to finality of decision,” said Veloso.

But Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman questioned this provision.

“As of now the there is a vice president and that election protest will have to take its course. But meanwhile, we have a duly elected vice president who is incumbent and should not be deprived of the constitutional right to succeed to the presidency,” said Lagman.

Akbayan party-list Representative Tom Villarin also said the administration might be trying to impede Robredo’s succession, especially with the President’s current state of health.

“The problem now is you have the health condition of the President which the President admits and of course the President always been saying that he does not like Vice President Robredo to succeed him,” said Villarin.

The draft federal constitution also seeks to remove the term limit of senators and congressmen. Congressman Veloso says term limits breed political dynasty.

“Now that we have term limits in senator if you will read the history book the famous there would be Mrs. Tolentino, Mrs. Diokno, the spouses of senators because with term limit comes dynasty you will pass your work to those who can continue,” said the chairman.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said in a statement that the removal of lawmakers’ term limits is for GMA to still run in Congress and remain in power.

He said their group will do everything to stop the passage of this measure.

“So GMA in effect can still run for Congress; this is designed, thus, for her and many others to remain in power ad infinitum. Just like before, we must do everything to derail this by pulling the plug now,” said Zarate.

But according to Speaker Arroyo, “ The only thing I added was a provision that instead of establishing the federal states, there’s a mechanism to establish federal states. All the other provisions were already submitted by the Con-Com and everyone else. That’s the only thing I added to make it my version.”

Under Section 2 Article 17 of the draft charter change, any move to extend the terms of President Duterte and Vice President Robredo beyond June 30, 2022, is prohibited.

The first national and local election under the federal system of government will be conducted on the second Monday of May 2022.

Solons admitted there is a very low chance that the Senate will pass its version of the proposal. But the House committee on constitutional amendments said it will do its part to pass the resolution on time to start the transition period on May 2019.

The Lower House is now deliberating the draft charter in the plenary for second reading. — Grace Casin 

 

 

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Duterte eyes Chinese businessman for NFA Admin post; no pick for CJ yet

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte during a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 | RTVM

 

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is yet to pick a new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (SC) following the retirement of Judge Teresita de Castro.

“Ang next chief justice? I’m still toying with so many names. Ang bagong… If there’s any vacancy there — I don’t know if there’s a vacant one there. Kung may vacancy, we’ll fill it up with good men and there are few good men in this planet. We’ll have to search them far and wide,” he said during a press briefing in Malacañang on Tuesday (October 9).

The Judicial Bar Council (JBC) has started accepting applications for the position.

Meanwhile, President Duterte hinted of a person he is eyeing for the position of administrator of the National Food Authority (NFA).

“Ngayon, ang NFA, I’m looking for somebody else. I’m looking for a Chinese who’s been there in the business maybe 20 years. I’ll just ask him to, in the meantime, to be the NFA. Alam man nila ang negosyo na ‘yan,” the President said. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

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