Poe backs emergency powers for Duterte amid martial law talk
Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark about the possibility of declaring martial law, Senator Grace Poe backed granting him additional powers to solve the traffic problem for three years, saying Congress could anyway take it back anytime.
“I’m supportive. As I said we’re supportive but we’re not abdicating our role in also checking on the executive because I said it’s really important,” Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel’s “Headstart” on Thursday.
“We have to tread the fine line between being supportive and being permissive and being cautious and being an obstructionist. That’s why there are three branches of government, not just one, so we can support each other but we can also police each other.”
“I’d like to see this administration succeed but I’m not going to give up on my role to make sure that they actually do it according to the processes that are laid out by the law,” the senator added.
Asked how many years should be given to the President to address the traffic problem using emergency powers, Poe said: “I think I’m not overly generous by saying that perhaps three years, the term of the 17th Congress because we need that.”
Why three years? Poe pointed out that the bills submitted to her committee are proposing either two or three years.
Besides, she said, the people should only fear giving the President additional powers if Congress does not have the power to withdraw it
“Again, there’s a particular provision where Congress can take it back anytime if we feel that it’s not needed anymore,” said the senator.
Asked if the Senate was ready to grant Duterte such powers even after his remark about the possibility of declaring martial law just to make sure that no one would get in the way of his fight against illegal drugs, Poe answered in the affirmative.
“Yes because it’s very specific. This has to do with traffic, and solving the traffic problem. It has nothing to do with the fight against drugs or anything else,” she said.
“And again, even in his pronouncement of declaring martial law, the 1987 Constitution has very strict guidelines about this and he’s a lawyer too. It’s only in cases of invasion and rebellion and then when you declare martial law, you can’t suspend the courts or the Constitution so it’s really a watered down version of the martial law because of the lessons learned in the past, the framers of the 1987 Constitutions were more careful about it,” the senator added. IDL/rga
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