Guevarra defends inclusion of takeover in emergency powers

Published March 23, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday (March 23) defended Malacañang’s decision to include in the proposed bill seeking emergency powers for President Duterte the ability to take over private establishments.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO /MANILA BULLETIN)
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra (TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO /MANILA BULLETIN)

The Secretary gave the assurance that the provision has basis in the Constitution.

“The proposed temporary takeover provision, though authorized under Art. XII, Sec. 17 of the Constitution, is meant to address the most extreme situation,” he said.

“It is prudent to have it in the bill now, rather than be caught unprepared should things suddenly deteriorate,” explained Guevarra, who noted that his role in the drafting the proposal had been “to ensure that the provisions of the proposed emergency bill will stand on solid constitutional grounds.”

Art. XII Sec. 17 states, “In times of national emergency, when the public interest so requires, the State may, during the emergency and under reasonable terms prescribed by it, temporarily take over or direct the operation of any privately owned public utility or business affected with public interest.”

During Monday’s (March 23) special session in Congress, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea pushed for the granting of special powers for the President to address the growing threat of coronavirus disease.

“The President and his administration has no intention at all to use these powers to its own advantage but only for our people’s advantage,” Medialdea said before Congress.

”We therefore approach the distinguished members of Congress, the elected legislators of our people, to ask for a law that would enable the President — the Executive branch — the legal authority to address this crisis in a manner that is free from the restrictions, which, beneficial during normal times, might prove disadvantageous during such an unusual time as this.”

 
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