Bayanihan Law effective until June 25 due to ‘sunset provision’ – Palace
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Saturday said the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act, which grants emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte in the wake of the COVID-19 onslaught, will remain effective until June 25 due to the law’s sunset provision.
“We maintain that the effectivity of the Bayanihan Act is governed by [the] sunset clause of the law. It is effective until June 25, 2020,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.
According to Roque, Section 9 of the Bayanihan Law allows the measure to be in full force and effect for three months since its publication, unless extended by Congress.
The Bayanihan Act was signed into law on March 24 but was published the next day, Roque noted.
Earlier, Senator Sonny Angara said the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act will expire once the House of Representatives adjourned sine die on June 5, since it is considered as an emergency measure. On Thursday, Senate adjourned sine die its first regular session of the 18th Congress.
“Upon adjournment of the House (we, having adjourned) because of the Constitutional provision that emergency powers cease upon the next adjournment of Congress,” Angara had said in a message.
Senator Panfilo Lacson agreed, saying the “emergency powers” granted to Duterte under the Bayanihan Law to deal with the coronavirus pandemic will cease once the law expires.
He added that with the law’s expiration, the national government would no longer be mandated to give out cash subsidies to families affected by the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Congress will go on a two-month break and will open its 2nd regular session in July. Congress adjourned without passing the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act, which would have replaced the Bayanihan to Heal As One Act. The Senate was only able to pass Senate Bill No. 1564, or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, on second reading on June 3.
But Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Friday that Duterte may still reallocate public funds for the COVID-19 response even if the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act was not passed.
“The non-passage of the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act should not prevent the President from continuing to implement programs, projects, and activities… that have corresponding appropriations in the General Appropriations Act,” Drilon said.
“The President is authorized to suspend the expenditure of appropriations, declare savings and realign the same under the… Constitution… [and other laws],” he said.
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