PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said that he has held off signing an executive order on a nationwide smoking ban because “there are a lot of dynamics there” and he needs more time to study the order.
“I’m sounding off. I’m measuring the resistance. So whether I can compromise. Like, for example, smoking areas inside building. We did not adopt that in our ordinance [in Davao City]. So but there are a lot of dynamics there. So just give me enough time to study,” Duterte said.
“I am supposed to sign it this week, as submitted by Secretary Ubial. She wants to hurry the measure but I said Davao is different from all the rest of the nation,” he added.
“So I have to be very careful in trying to navigate the way how I can present it to the public. For example, I’d need the pronouncements, not really the opinion, the pronouncements of our medical sector,” the President added.
In a news briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that revisions were made to the DoH’s draft was submitted to the Office of the Executive Secretary on Tuesday morning.
This after Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo questioned during the Cabinet meeting an inconsistency with Republic Act 9211, Tobacco Regulation Act, that allows the placement of designated smoking areas in a building.
“The revision was already submitted at 8 a.m. this morning to the Office of the Executive Secretary and then—and then it will be signed as soon as the President comes back, as soon as he comes to office,” he said.
“Basically, Secretary Ubial was given the directive to make sure that part four of the existing EO would be revised and to follow the Davao model,” Panelo said, noting that inconsistencies within the original draft may lead to more legal questions and can be challenged in the Supreme Court.
“If that will be placed in the Executive Order, that will be open to constitutional challenge, because you cannot amend a law by an executive order,” he added.