SC ruling on ICC plea recognized limits of president’s power on foreign policy – Drilon

Robie de Guzman   •   March 17, 2021   •   930

 

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon

MANILA, Philippines – The recent ruling of the Supreme Court on the petition against the Philippines’ withdrawal from the International Criminal Court (ICC) showed that there are limitations to the president’s power with respect to foreign policy, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said on Wednesday.

Drilon issued the remark after the SC dismissed the petition questioning the validity of President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to pull out from the ICC.

“While the Supreme Court dismissed the petition questioning the validity of the Philippine government’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute for being moot and academic, the High Court acknowledged the limitations on the power of the President as the chief architect of foreign policy,” the senator said in a statement.

Drilon was among those who filed the petition along with other current and former senators Francis Pangilinan, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, and Antonio Trillanes IV.

The SC, in a press statement on Tuesday, said the magistrates voted unanimously to dismiss the petition for being moot and academic.

The Philippines formally withdrew from the Rome of Statue, which established the ICC, in March 2019.

“The decision acknowledged that the President, as the primary architect of foreign policy, is subject to the Constitution and existing statutes,” the SC Public Information Office said.

“Therefore, the power of the President to withdraw unilaterally can be limited by the conditions for concurrence by the Senate or when there is an existing law which authorizes the negotiation of a treaty or international agreement or when there is a statute that implements an existing treaty,” it added.

For Drilon, the high court’s decision is “a clear recognition of the limitations of the power of the President with respect to foreign policy.”

“Most striking is the acknowledgment that the power of the President to withdraw ‘unilaterally’ can be subject to limitations by the Senate,” he said.

“It is a highly interesting decision and I will await the full text before I comment more extensively,” he added.

Malacañang earlier welcomed the SC decision.

Duterte ordered the country’s withdrawal from the ICC after it opened a preliminary examination on the ongoing drug war in the Philippines following reports of extrajudicial killings during police anti-narcotics operations.

Duterte threatens to name ‘corrupt’ presidential bet

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has threatened to spill some information about the presidential aspirants and who among them is allegedly ‘most corrupt’.

In a taped speech aired on Tuesday, Duterte said he will bare some details and “what’s wrong” with the presidential bets in the 2022 elections “in due time.”

“I will personally name the candidates and maybe what’s wrong with them na kailangan malaman ng tao because you are electing a president, sino ‘yung pinaka-corrupt na candidato,” he said.

Duterte said the information came “from everybody” and from “personal experience.”

While he did not specify names, Duterte said there is a ‘very corrupt’ aspirant who cannot become president.

“Mayroon diyan, talagang hindi pwede maging president,” he said.

“Mayroon naman diyan na presidente, pero masyadong corrupt. Kala lang kasi tao malinis, pero yung mga transaction, business sa kaniya, official business, pati yung mga chinese nagreklamo na masyadong corrupt,” he added.

Another contender, he said, is a bit lacking in experience, and doesn’t even seem to know the “fundamentals” of what a person who wants to be president should know.

“Medyo kulang talaga. Kulang na kulang. Everyday may sasabihin siya na mali o maski the fundamentals of what a person na gustong mag-president dapat,” he said.

Duterte stressed that he is not politicking and that he only wants to reveal this to let the people know about these issues.

“I’m talking to you as your president. Kailangan ilalabas ko kasi we are talking of elections, we are talking of our country and the next rulers, so to say, so to speak,” he said.

“Walang personalan ito… Nothing at stake for me, wala talaga akong rason bakit maghanap ako ng kalaban,” he added.

Duterte has yet to endorse a candidate for the presidential race.

His daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, is running for vice president in tandem with Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Supreme Court revises rules on use of laptops during Bar exams

Robie de Guzman   •   January 24, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court will allow examinees to keep reviewers in their laptops that they will be using for the Bar exams, according to an advisory released on Monday.

“Examinees are now allowed to keep reviewers in their laptops, which should always be saved in their local folders and not downloadable from their clouds,” Bar Exams chairperson Justice Marvic Leonen said in Bar Bulletin no. 35.

In previous bulletins, Bar examinees were advised to organize and offload their law-related files into external devices before taking the Bar examinations. They were also prohibited from using their laptops other than to use Examplify during the test proper.

The new bulletin allows examinees to access their files on the laptop for any last-minute studying once done with the security and health check.

Examinees may also review their own files during lunch breaks.

“In any event, examinees must close all reviewers and other law-related files 30 minutes before the first bell (7:30 a.m.; 1:30 p.m.) rings,” Leonen said.

The SC reminded examinees that they are responsible for the safekeeping of their laptops and it will not be liable should they spill anything on their laptops or do any damage that might render their laptops unusable for the succeeding exam.

“Examinees shall also not be allowed to avail of the back-up computers should such a situation arise,” it added.

The SC also said that talking to other examinees is prohibited, as well as sharing their computer screens or files.

“Silence and physical distancing will be strictly enforced,” it said.

“Those who will violate this rule may face disciplinary action,” it added.

The high court likewise advised examinees not to attempt any form of cheating even with the relaxed policy.

“As those who have completed the sample exams already know, Examplify is a secure delivery program, designed to prohibit examinees from exiting the application once the test proper has begun,” it said.

“Trying to access files during the test proper is a futile effort and a violation of the Honor Code,” it added.

Examinees are still prohibited from connecting to the internet at all times, unless authorized.

“Attempting to connect to the internet while inside the premises of the local testing center, other than to download the examination file and to submit the answer file shall be considered cheating,” the SC said.

The high court also reminded examinees that they are “absolutely prohibited from using their laptops for social media once they enter the premises.”

It also reiterated previous Bar bulletins that the bringing of iPads, tablets, or other gadgets is prohibited and will be confiscated by security.

Leonen warned that no second chances will be given to anyone who will be caught violating the rules.

“Any form of cheating will not be tolerated. Anyone who will be caught violating these rules will be automatically disqualified from the 2020/21 Bar Examination and future bar examinations. No second chances will be given for any breach of the Honor Code,” he said.

Leonen earlier urged Bar takers to strictly observe health protocols and go on quarantine before the exams.

Fully vaccinated examinees are required to undergo only one antigen test within 48 hours before the first examination.

“Those who will test positive under the antigen test shall be required to comply with the guidelines of their local testing center’s local government unit,” Leonen said.

Unvaccinated examinees, on the other hand, will be required to present negative nasal or saliva RT-PCR Test results taken within 72 hours before the first examination. Information about testing will be received through email by each examinees.

Those who have recovered from COVID-19 shall still be required to undergo an antigen test or RT-PCR test before the first examination.

Examinees who present a positive test result but have since recovered from COVID-19 up to a month before the first Bar examination day shall be required to present an affidavit stating under oath that they are considered by the local government units as a “recovered” case and they have completed the required isolation period.

“Any false statement shall be cause for outright disqualification,” Leonen said.

Palace on old video of Duterte discouraging booster shots: ‘Should be viewed in proper context’

Robie de Guzman   •   January 24, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Monday said that the video of President Rodrigo Duterte discouraging the public from getting booster shots against COVID-19 was an old clip and that it should be viewed in the “proper context.”

In a statement, acting presidential spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the video clip, which recently made rounds online, was recorded in September 2021 when the COVID-19 situation in the country and the government’s vaccination priority was still different from today.

Nograles issued the statement after receiving information about a video clip of Duterte, in which he states that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are sufficient, is being shared and used by some critics to campaign against the administration’s efforts to administer COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.

“The said video clip should be viewed in the proper context. At that point, 21 million of our countrymen were fully vaccinated, and our priority was to increase this number, which is why the provision of booster shots had yet to be approved,” he said.

“The situation today is now vastly different,” he added.

Nograles said it was in November 2021 when the government approved the recommendation of Philippine health experts to use booster doses for all fully vaccinated individuals as the country was able to secure then an ample supply of vaccines and a substantial percentage of population was already fully vaccinated.

“To further encourage the public to get their booster shots, the President in his December 21, 2021 address enjoined the public to ‘take advantage’ of the country’s sufficient supply of vaccines against COVID-19 and get their booster shots to control the spread of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant,” he said.

“We reiterate that there is clear evidence that COVID-19 booster shots provide additional protection against the virus,” he added.

Nograles has urged the public “to refrain from sharing disinformation that will endanger the lives of our kababayan, compromise our efforts to contain COVID-19, and undermine our campaign to beat the disease.”

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