Solidarity in the time of COVID-19 -- MS Supplement

Emergency powers can’t be extended

Emergency powers can’t be extended"The Constitution is superior to any other law."



Under Article VI, Section 23 (2) of the 1987 Constitution, the emergency powers granted by Congress to the President to address national emergency crises shall cease upon Congress’ next adjournment unless sooner withdrawn by a congressional resolution. I believe that is clear enough, Santa Banana!

Thus, in connection with the Senate move to enact a law extending the life of Republic Act 11469, more popularly known as the Bayanihan Law to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergency powers granted to President Duterte shall cease on June 5, 2020.

My gulay, once Congress adjourns, this provision of the Constitution shall apply and Mr. Duterte’s emergency powers will cease.

This is why even if Congress passes a law extending the emergency powers of the President, the Constitutional provision would still apply. It is basic that no law shall prevail over the Constitution, the highest law of the land.

It may be argued that RA 11469’s expiration date is technically set on June 25. Still, the Constitution is very clear.

Considering the circumstances, it would appear that the remedy is for Congress to continue its session until June 25. Or, the President could call a special session from June 6 to June 24.

Santa Banana, I hate to give a lecture to members of Congress, who really must know better than I do!


The House of Representatives may not have enough time to grant a renewal of the 25-year franchise to ABS-CBN considering the fact that Congress will adjourn on June 5. No less than 13 bills to this end are being deliberated. There will have to be separate first, second and third readings of the bills.

I say there may not be enough time because from the House, the franchise renewal still has to go through the Senate, where it will have to go through the same rigmarole as provided for by the Constitution.

There have been objections to the renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise and all these have been addressed adequately. Aside from the objections posed by the Deputy Speaker, there is also the quo warranto petition filed by the Solicitor General before the Supreme Court. The High Court had sought comments from Congress and the National Telecommunications Commission which ordered the shutdown of the network.

The granting of the franchise renewal cannot be automatic. It has to go through the same process like any other bill in Congress. I advise all the bleeding hearts in and out of Congress not to celebrate yet. It would be premature!


The transition into a general community quarantine comes with its own risks and dangers.

The GCQ does not mean that everything is all right and people can go back to normal. In fact, there is still a question of how people without their own vehicles can get to their destination.

Health experts have raised the likelihood of a resurgence of cases, because the easing of restrictions amplifies the risk of community transmission. The President and the Inter-Agency Task Force must remember that the curve has never flattened.

I can understand why people would want to go out already. Jobs are being lost and the economic toll of the pandemic has been substantial. But there should really be no hurry to “go back to normal.” It’s the health and safety of the people at stake.


Residents of Hong Kong and everybody else with business there are worried about security laws that Beijing wants to adopt.

This brought about the immediate protests of pro-democracy protesters and everybody else who has been enjoying Hong Kong’s status as the financial hub of the world. I will not be surprised if some Hong Kong residents fly to Canada or the United Kingdom.

The bottom line is that is Beijing imposes security restrictions, Hong Kong will never be the same again. That also has an impact on our OFWs.

Topics: 1987 Constitution , Republic Act 11469 , general community quarantine
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.
AdvertisementSpeaker GMA