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Palace sees need to extend Duterte’s emergency powers

May 27, 2020 - Wednesday 6:05 PM by PNA

Article Banner Image Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

MANILA – Malacañang said Wednesday it is “necessary” to extend the special temporary powers granted to President Rodrigo Duterte to manage the crisis in the country brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte should be given until September to use emergency powers to boost his administration’s fight against COVID-19.

“It’s not a preference. But I think it definitely is necessary to give us at least 90 days,” Roque said. “Of course, extraordinary power is something that is reserved for extraordinary circumstances. But the problem here with COVID-19 is without the vaccine, we’ll never go back to normal and it’s still extraordinary.”

Republic Act (RA) 11469, or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, allows Duterte to wield emergency powers to address the COVID-19 crisis that is grappling the country.

The law, which was enacted on March 24, is only effective for three months, unless extended by Congress.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Tuesday filed House of Representatives Bill 6811, which seeks the extension of Duterte's special powers for another three months as it is “clear that the pandemic will not be over by June 24, 2020.”

Roque sought the amendment to the sunset provision of RA 11469 to allow the further extension of Duterte’s emergency powers amid the outbreak.

“Well, the Bayanihan clause contains a sunset clause three months from the date of effectivity. So if it’s going to be extended, Malacañang would like to see that the bill itself, the sunset clause, will be amended to provide further extension of the emergency powers conferred on the President,” he said.

Malacañang has said on Tuesday that Duterte was able to exhaust all the temporary special powers granted to him by Congress to allow his administration to arrest the spread of COVID-19. PNA