President Rodrigo Duterte can impose martial law, declare a revolutionary government, and use other emergency powers to solve the problems of the country, the Palace said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President can do “many things” to curb the country’s problems
with drugs, corruption, terrorism, and rebellion, in line with the 1987 Constitution.
“He can do a lot of things. He can impose martial law; he can declare a revolutionary government; he can use other emergency powers,” Panelo said during a press briefing.
Panelo said President Duterte referred to these measures when he said that he has “a card” he can throw anytime.
During his visit in Leyte last week for the inauguration of a rice processing complex, Duterte said: “Don’t force me to declare war because I have something else. I have a card which I can throw anytime.”
The President was referring to the country’s problems that needed to be solved, not to impeachment threats
against him in the wake of his revelation that he had allowed Chinese fishermen within the country’s exclusive economic zone, Panelo said.
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Panelo also said that the country’s problems would be easier to solve by limiting constitutional restraints imposed on the branches of government.
“For instance, he wants foreign investors to come in without restriction, but they cannot come in if the 60 percent of the capital weren’t from Filipinos,” Panelo said, referring to a constitutional restraint on foreign ownership of businesses.
“Several things need to be changed in the Constitution,” he said.
“The Constitution is, as I said before, a living instrument, it’s dynamic. I don’t think the framers of the Constitution [wanted to] chain the head of the state from performing his duty which is to serve and to protect the people by placing provisions there in derogation of that obligation,” he said.
The fate of Charter change will be significantly affected by the outcome of the 2022 presidential election, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Tuesday.
The next presidential election may still be three years away, but this early Drilon could sense some of his colleagues casting a “moist eye” on the presidency, saying it will be the “biggest factor” in their vote on Charter change.
“It is difficult to predict at this time how the senators will vote considering the new composition of the Senate. But what is becoming clear is the presidency in 2022 will play a huge role in how our colleagues will treat this renewed call for Charter change and decide on their vote,” Drilon said.
Drilon, a four-time Senate President, believed that that the Senate will maintain its independence in handling the divisive issue of Charter change, as it has in the past.
“The Senate always prides itself as independent of Malacañang. The people can always rely on that, so they can be assured that any attempt to revise or amend the Constitution to give way for federalism will undergo the regular process and will not be railroaded,” Drilon said.
“And the minority will be more vigilant against attempts to rush any bill, not only Cha-Cha,” he added.
So far, there have been no Charter change discussions in the Senate, he said.
He noted, however, that 2018 surveys clearly showed that the majority of the Filipino people are opposed to Charter change and federalism.
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