Cash funds only! Sotto: Senate won’t let Duterte take over private businesses due to COVID-19

File photo from ABS CBN

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said on Sunday that Senate will not allow President Rodrigo Duterte to take over private businesses as part of the government's response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Sotto's statement came after reports that a draft of the bill that Congress would like to pass in a special session will give an emergency powers to the president.

“Perhaps one controversial provision in the bill [is] about the takeover of businesses, but that won’t fly in the Senate,” he said

Sotto explained that the purpose of the measure is to give Duterte the power to provide cash assistance to an estimated 16.5 million families affected by the enhanced community lock down.

Some leaders of the Senate and House of Reprsentatives said that the special powers for the President will enable him to reallign around P200 billion in public funds.

“This is not an emergency powers bill. We agreed this is not,” Sotto said

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also said Malacañang is not seeking for emergency powers but for “powers necessary to carry our urgent measures to implement the national emergency.”

Congress is set to meet on Monday at 10 a.m. for a special session to grant Duterte the power to shuffle state funds for the government’s COVID-19 response.

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