EDITOR’S NOTE: This was posted on the personal Facebook profile of former Negros Occidental Gov. Rafael Coscolluela as Congress convened today to vote on the proposed Bayanihan Act or Republic Act 6616
Are we being suckered into granting “emergency powers” to the President? Listening to the sham hearing of the Lower House makes me feel deeply insulted by the obvious attempt to set aside all arguments or questions regarding the propriety and need for emergency powers.
I have my own comments regarding certain provisions of the pending Bill:
- Emergency purchase is allowed and the circumstances justify this mode.
- The President has direct supervisory powers over all local governments. He doesn’t need emergency powers to make local chief executives tow the line.
- The President can order all government agencies to defer payment deadlines. Infact, BIR has already done so. Again, emergency powers are not needed for the President to make government agencies adjust their schedules.
- Congress can always allocate (overnight if necessary) budgets when it is shown that existing allocations are nolonger adequate. But that requires transparency, which emergency powers may render unecessary. At the very least, the Presideent (or his Budget Secretary) ought to render a report on the current status of existing and useable allocations.
- The President doesn’t need emergency powers to “take over” publicly-owned establishments. He already has them under his control. Private establishments are already cooperating without being told to do so, and are in fact already contributing heavily to the anti-Covid campaign. Other private establishments are all under the regulatory powers of government agencies. These agencies can secure cooperation of force compliance with specific directives, without the use of emergency powers.
- In sum, what other reasons are there that would justify the granting of broad emergency powers to the President? Especially THIS president who already strikes fear among his constituents, enjoys the undying loyalty of the uniformed forces, extracts unquestioning allegiance from his Congress and is already predisposed to less-than-democratic methods to achieve his ends?
- What do I suggest in lieu of granting the President emergency powers? Isn’t it obvious? The President just needs to marshall all the resources and powers already in his hands.