President Rodrigo Duterte aims to amend process for declaring martial law

admin   •   December 23, 2016   •   2914

President Rodrigo Duterte.

President Rodrigo Duterte.

 

It is high time to amend the process for declaring martial law in the country.

This was stated by President Rodrigo Duterte during his speech in front of the community drug watch volunteers in Pampanga on Thursday.

Under the 1987 Constitution, the approval of Congress and the Supreme Court is needed before a president can declare martial law.

This is to avoid repeating the mistakes of former president Ferdinand Marcos’ regime wherein reported cases of abuse under martial law occurred.

“The martial law powers are subject for review by the Supreme Court and by Congress. Kung mag-declare ako ng Martial Law at may invasion ngayon o giyera, I cannot proceed on and on. Lalo na kung may gulo, pupunta pa ako sa Congress, pupunta pa ako doon sa Supreme Court,” said the president.

(The Martial Law powers are subject for review by the Supreme Court and by Congress. If I want to declare martial law because of an invasion or war, I cannot proceed on and on. Especially when there is trouble, I will have to go to Congress and the Supreme Court.)

However the chief executive assured that if the change were to be implemented, he would not take advantage of it.

“But there is a safety measure there. I’ll just tell you later,” he said.

Duterte added that the amendment in the provision of the Constitution was a “reckless reaction” to former president Marcos who declared martial law in 1972. — Mirasol Abogadil | UNTV News and Rescue

Malacañang leaves people’s initiative on ABS-CBN franchise to Supreme Court

Maris Federez   •   July 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Sunday (July 12) said it will leave the issue of granting a franchise to media giant ABS-CBN Corporation to the Supreme Court.

This, after several groups said that a people’s initiative to revive the company’s franchise bill could possibly happen, invoking Republic Act 6735 to grant a franchise for ABS-CBN, after a House committee rejected the network’s franchise application.

RA 6735 or the Initiative and Referendum Act provides that the public can directly propose and enact laws or approve or reject any act or law or part thereof as passed by Congress.

In a statement released on Sunday, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Malacañang will defer to the Supreme Court should it decide on the issue.

“We also take note of the discussions around using the mechanism of the people’s initiative to grant ABS-CBN a franchise,” he added.

He said it is up to the Supreme Court to rule on whether a people’s initiative will be applicable to the case of ABS-CBN despite, as he said, what was clearly worded in Republic Act 7925 or the Public Telecommunications Act.

“Whether the franchise of ABS-CBN may be granted through a people’s initiative despite the clear wording of R.A. 7925, whether it matters that a franchise bill is a private bill that must ‘originate exclusively in the House of Representatives’ in accordance with Article VI, Section 24 of the Constitution — these and related questions we leave to the Supreme Court, as the final arbiter of the appropriate interpretation of these provisions in the Constitution and our laws,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released last Saturday showed that three out of 4 Filipinos want Congress to renew ABS-CBN’s franchise.

The survey said that 57 percent of adult Filipinos “strongly” agreed that the network should be granted a fresh franchise, while 19 percent “somewhat” agreed. e, 13 percent are not in favor of granting the media giant a fresh franchise while 10 percent are undecided on the issue. — /mbmf

Duterte on reopening the economy: ‘We cannot afford to gamble’

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The country is not yet ready to fully reopen its economy, according to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Chief Executive said the government is doing the process gradually, otherwise the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections would spike that could lead to a bigger problem.

He said he cannot follow the example of other countries because the Philippines does not have as much resources if the situation gets worse.

“Tayong pobre we cannot afford really a total epidemic or pandemonium. Mahirap tayo. Hindi tayo puwedeng sumugal (As a poor country, we cannot afford really a total epidemic or pandemonium. We are poor. We cannot afford to gamble),” the President said during his public address on Tuesday evening (July 7).

President Duterte cited situations in the United States and Brazil where despite being powerful and wealthy, are not spared from the impact of the pandemic.

“Although they opened their economy for money to come into the government coffers, there was a spike. They were having a problem of almost a relapse — in the totality of the number,” he added.

Meanwhile, the President expressed doubts that the country has entered the second wave of COVID-19 outbreak.

“Now we do not even know if the number of 34, 178 of active cases is still a part of the first wave or have we arrived at the second wave. I don’t think so. We are still grappling with the first wave,” he argued.

He urged Filipinos to obey strict health protocols and have more patience as the government works to combat the pandemic.

Mga kababayan ko, ako mismo gusto ko nang lumabas. Ayoko nang magpapigil. Kung gusto ko nga makipag-away na ako. Ang problema iyon ang gusto ko, pero ang gusto ko ay hindi makakabuti sa ating lahat,” he said.

(My fellow countrymen, I personally I want to go out. I don’t want to be barred from doing so. I am even ready to fight over this. The problem is, what I want is not good for everyone.)

“We have to be very circumspect in reopening the economy. Dahan-dahan lang (Let’s do it gradually), because if you open the entire Philippines and thousands upon thousands of new cases would happen, then we are in deep s***. Talagang mahirapan tayo (We will seriously struggle),” he said. MNP (with inputs from Rosalie Coz)

More petitions vs. Anti-Terrorism Act filed in SC

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 6, 2020

Four petitions were filed against the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 at the Supreme Court on Monday (July 6).

A group led by law professor Atty. Howard Calleja and former Education Secretary Armin Luistro filed their petition to question the constitutionality of the Anti-Terrorism Act.

“We are not fighting this government. We are fighting the constitutionality of this law and this law should stand not only this constitution, not only this government but should stand the governments and constitutions of our children and of our children’s children. so we are fighting not only for today but for also the future of everybody, of every Filipino,” Calleja said.

Among the provisions questioned by Calleja and Luistro are the broad and vague definition of “terrorism”, the warrantless arrest, and the 24-day detention period upon suspicion of terrorism.

“The basic safeguard of our law is and of our rights is the constitution. if you violate the constitution then there are no safeguards,” Calleja said.

Lalong nagiging perpekto ang administrasyon kapag handa nilang pakinggan kahit yung mga batikos dahil dyan nagagawang mas mabuti. Kapag ang mga ang netizens natin ay nagtatanggal na ng mga posts nila, yan na ang epekto na ayaw natin mangyari,” said Luistro.

[The administration gets perfected when it is ready to hear out even the criticisms for they make things better. When netizens start to remove their posts, then, that will be the effect that we don’t want to happen.]

Atty. Mel Sta. Maria, Dean of the Far Eastern University Institute of Law, also filed a petition, stating that aside from what Calleja has pointed out, the anti-terrorism law will affect the teaching patterns in universities.

Kaya nga ang propesor, mga teacher o mga estudyante na magmumungkahi, mag-aaral ng halimbawa ng liberation theology, halimbawa na kalakip na dun ang pag-uusap sa arms struggle, e baka sabihin nila, proposal or inciting to terrorism na yan,” Sta. Maria said.

[That’s why professors, teachers, or even students will propose or study liberation theology, for example, and part of which is a discussion on arms struggle, it might be misconstrued as a proposal or inciting to terrorism already.]

Meanwhile, both Albay 1st district Representative Edcel Lagman and the Makabayan Bloc are requesting the Supreme Court to release a temporary restraining order (TRO) or Writ of Preliminary Injunction while the court has yet to decide on the filed petitions.

“All that a devious and underhanded law enforcer or prosecutor has to do is to conveniently invoke the killer proviso to stifle political dissent and peaceable assembly for redress of grievances,” Lagman said in a statement.

Lagman said the government must ensure that the rights of the common people for free speech will not be compromised by arrests that will be made against terrorists.

“What the government must pursue is the apprehension, prosecution and conviction, once warranted, of terrorists without ensnaring into contrived culpability persons who simply exercise free speech and peaceful assembly,” the lawmaker said.

Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate expressed concern that the said law might be abused and target even ordinary individuals.

“This will be weaponized not only against members of the progressive organizations but even members of the political opposition, ordinary individuals, maging miyembro ng media (even members of the media),” he said.

On the other hand, Malacañang said it is leaving the decision to the Supreme Court.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated criticizing the government will never be considered a crime under the Constitution.

“Every law passed by congress enjoys the heavy presumption of constitutionality,” he said. —AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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