Panelo denies Duterte asking for emergency powers amid COVID-19 crisis
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Sunday denied reports that President Rodrigo Duterte is asking Congress for emergency powers to address the crisis brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“The letter to Congress signed by the Executive Secretary says powers necessary to carry out urgent measures to implement the national emergency, not emergency powers,” Panelo said in a text message to reporters.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III also earlier denied that Duterte was asking for emergency powers.
“Not true. Read the title [of the bill]. Nothing there says emergency powers,” Sotto said in a text message when asked if Duterte had asked Congress for emergency powers in a letter sent to him by Malacañang.
Congress is scheduled to hold a special session on Monday to pass a bill that will allow Duterte to realign funds from the available budget to cushion the impact of the pandemic on Filipino families whose livelihoods were affected by the crisis.
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