Human rights lawyers Diokno and Te against emergency powers for Duterte, Marami nang batas!

FLAG lawyers Chel Diokno and Theodore Te/photo courtesy of Twitter and ABS-CBN

Members of Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) and Human rights lawyers Chel Diokno and Theodore Te have expressed opposition to grant emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte to address the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) emergency in the country. 

“The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) opposes the proposed grant of emergency powers to the President, as contained in Senate Bill No. 1413 and House Bill No. 6616,” mentioned by Diokno who is FLAG chairman and Te, former Supreme Court (SC) spokesman in their position paper.

Both Diokno and Te explained the emergency powers requested are “either superfluous and unnecessary, as they are already vested in the Executive Branch by existing laws.”
“The emergency powers proposed to be granted would result in an undue delegation of legislative powers and a violation of the separation of powers,” the FLAG lawyers said.
“The proposed bills seek to confer powers that are already conferred by existing laws and fail to set forth a national policy, as required by the Constitution,” FLAG stated.

FLAG emphasized that Republic Act 11332, the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act already has “a definition of public health emergency, a response to such, and specific objectives, powers, and penalties.”

“These powers are already extraordinary as they contemplate precisely an emergency, i.e., a public health emergency,” FLAG said about RA 11332.

“The grant of emergency powers, as proposed by the Senate and House bills, may not be the solution to the Covid19 pandemic at this time,” said FLAG lawyers.

“Notice should be taken that other countries have not resorted to the passage of extraordinary measures to combat the pandemic, choosing instead to rely on evidence-based strategies and scientific solutions,” they added.

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