The Supreme Court has dismissed the petition challenging the constitutionality of Republic Act 11469, otherwise known as the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act”, which granted emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte, including the authority to realign budget due to the coronavirus pandemic.
SC Public Information Office head Brian Keith Hosaka disclosed that the Court resolved to dismiss the petition during its en banc session on Tuesday.
Hosaka said that the high tribunal dismissed the petition due to failure of the petition to show grave abuse of discretion committed by the respondents, which include the Inter-Agency Task Force, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles and Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.
The petition was filed by lawyer Jaime Ibañez who argued that the Bayanihan To Heal One Act and the Presidential Proclamations No. 929 and 922 should be declared partly unconstitutional for undue delegation of legislative power.
Proclamation No. 929 placed the country under an enhanced community quarantine in March while Proclamation No. 922 declares a state of public health emergency.
The petitioner said RA 11469 gave the President legislative authority to exercise power “other than what is necessary in to carry out the declared national policy” in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic by using the phrase “for other purposes” in the law.
Because of this, the petitioner urged the SC justices to declare as null and void the assailed proclamations for having been issued by the President without legislative consent.
The petitioner also said the creation of the inter-agency task force as well as its subsequent actions should be nullified since these were anchored of what is supposed to be a void law.
The petition also questioned the soundness of the government’s decision to place under enhanced community quarantine several areas in the country which resulted to economic downturn.
Ibanez said the Court should prevent the IATF from further imposing guidelines on community quarantine in the country for lack of authority.
The petition also lamented that the imposition of community quarantine violate the right to freedom of an individual guaranteed under the due process and equal protection clauses of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Constitution.